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08.16.10

Links 16/8/2010: ARM-based Servers Project, MeeGo Status

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Yet Another ARMed Server Project

      That other OS doesn’t work on them so this is another growth opportunity for GNU/Linux. This all comes together when folks are looking at virtual desktops, too. These things could compete very well with blade servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Main development phase for Linux kernel 2.6.36 concluded

        Linus Torvalds has released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.36 and closed the merge window – the first phase in the development cycle, during which the bulk of changes for a new kernel version are merged into the main development tree. The usual announcement mail for the new kernel is currently nowhere to be found, but the RC1 is tagged in the Kernel Git tree and available for download on Kernel.org.

  • Applications

    • Using Some Imagination
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gaming Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

        The results from this OpenGL game testing are similar to that of our workstation results earlier this month: for the most part, there is not a huge difference in performance between Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. With Lightsmark and Nexuiz when more taxing on the graphics card the NVIDIA graphics driver under Windows moved forward, but with the most demanding Unigine tests the performance was about the same. Of course, these results are just representative with regard to NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on both platforms, with the results likely to be different when using the ATI Catalyst driver or if comparing the performance to the Linux Mesa/Gallium3D driver stack, in which case the Linux performance would be abysmal.

  • Distributions

    • My first pocket Operating System – Slax

      I never owned a USB flash drive, until recently. I needed one not just for data transfer requirements but because I always wanted to carry an operating system with me. While trying out differnet OSs with various installation methods, my system sometimes had tremendous breakdowns and the only way to access & backup the data was to boot into a LIVE session. Luckily, I came across this really small pocket operating system, Slax. Its just 200 mb and the method to get it bootable on a flash drive is probably the quickest and most effortless of all I have ever used.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Community Simple – PCLinuxOS in Action

        I have mentioned PCLinuxOS in my other Linux posts because it is a good solid distribution, and works well with any computer I have installed it on. I downloaded the latest PCLinuxOS iso using Gnome desktop, and copied it to CD. It booted up and ran as it always does, perfectly. The real test was the wireless connection. I set up the wireless, and the network was waiting as it should be. The biggest hurdle was solved.

        I proceeded to install PCLinuxOS on all the laptops, and for the most part they all work identically with the exception of two. One of the Laptops occasionally drops the wireless in Windows, and another occasionally drops it in Linux. I do not think that is a fault of the operating systems, but rather the nature of the network itself.

        If you read some of what various Linux Guru’s write, they will tell you Linux is Linux. It is the Kernel that makes Linux unique and everything else is programming to support the Kernel functions. While there is no doubt this is true, it is PCLinuxOS going the extra step to include an older wireless driver in the right rev that made it possible for those Laptops to use Linux, and enjoy a solid eight month uptime as of this writing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Comments on Fedora 13

          I installed Fedora 13 on Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th as unlucky day may be a myth, but my experience with Fedora 13 was not.

          The first problem ws the install DVD boot menu. If I touched any key, including the cursor keys, the boot menu would hang. The only option was to let the clock run down to perform an install. It acted like the GRUB 2 menu problem that I encounter with Linux Mint 8. After the boot menu, there were no problems with the install.

          I installed Fedora on an HP Pavilion ze4300 laptop that only has 512 megabytes of memory. Since Fedora 13 includes XFCE as a graphical desktop, I decided to try it, instead of Gnome. Alas, the venture with XFCE came to a quick end.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Linux to go multi-touch

          This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu is heading toward making a Linux for tablets ala Android or MeeGo.

        • Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick

          Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined |a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

        • Ubuntu Linux: I like it, but it doesn’t like me
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu 10.10: Becoming More Unique

            The upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10 promises a variety of new features for Ubuntu’s desktop and server editions. But it will also bring significant changes for Ubuntu’s lightweight cousin, Xubuntu. Here’s a look at some of the most important updates for the Xfce-based Ubuntu variant, including several that will increase its independence from standard Ubuntu.

            Admittedly, until I downloaded the Xubuntu alpha 3 release, it had been a while since I tried the distribution. I used to run it on some lower-end machines, but I gave it up a couple years ago because the performance improvement over Gnome-based Ubuntu was not drastic enough to justify the features missing in Xfce, at least for me.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo: Where Are We Now?

          We established a robust governance structure led by our Technical Steering Group with people leading all of the various aspects of the project: program management, architecture, maintainers, community and more. While we have quite a few of the people identified for key areas, we are still in the process of continuing to add more details and beginning to define how the working groups and compliance efforts will be structured.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Evolution of Sharing

      Sharing is an invaluable and valueless transaction fundamental to our daily lives. We are social animals all invested in a massive species-wide collaboration to survive and thrive. We share for mutual benefit, for altruism, for deferred returns, and, increasingly, because we are compelled to contribute to the global brain. Facebook & Twitter are perhaps the latest apotheosis of this shift towards the compulsive sharing of everything in our lives. And it is this condition that seems to represent something uniquely spiritual, or at least inchoate and just beyond rational apprehension, about our progression into the 21st century: the boundaries around the Other and shadows held within are falling to the illumination of the global consciousness.

    • Open Data/Government Transparency

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJ Open: accessible medical research

        BMJ Open is an open access journal for general medical research. Using a continuous publication model the journal will provide rapid publication for research from any medical discipline or therapeutic area.

Leftovers

  • Health

    • Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people

      This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. More than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) can cause diabetes. So why do companies pay out money before cases get to court?

      An interesting feature of litigation is that various documents enter the public domain. This is how we know about the tobacco industry’s evil plans to target children, the fake academic journal that Elsevier created for Merck’s marketing department, and so on.

      One of the most revealing documents ever to come out of a drug company emerged from an earlier quetiapine case: an email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca. In it, he helpfully admits that they do everything I say drug companies do.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Russia launches inquiry into Pavlovsk seed bank after Twitter campaign

      The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate inquiry into the potential destruction of the world’s oldest seed bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian readers and others.

      The fate of the station appeared to be sealed last week when a court ruled in favour of the Pavlovsk research station and its surrounding farmland being turned into private housing. It holds the world’s largest fruit collections and was protected by 12 Russian scientists during the second world war who chose to starve to death rather than eat the unique collection of seeds and plants which they were guarding during the 900-day siege of Leningrad.

    • Pakistan flood response prompts rising anti-government resentment

      The agricultural heartland has been wiped out, which will cause spiralling food prices and shortages. Many roads and irrigation canals have been destroyed, along with electricity supply infrastructure.

    • BP to pay $50m fine for safety violations after Texas City explosion

      Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6m (£32.5m) fine for failing to fix hazards at its Texas City oil refinery in the wake of a disastrous explosion that killed 15 people five years ago.

      The fine imposed by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the largest penalty ever issued by the watchdog, although it is dwarfed by the billions that BP is set to pay out for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Fishing legacy fades from some New England ports

      Tourists swarmed the town pier in the 1970s and ’80s, snapping pictures and bantering with commercial fishermen as they unloaded another shimmering haul for Secondo’s company, Reliable Fish, to truck to points south.

  • Finance

    • China overtakes Japan as world’s second-largest economy

      Japan lost its place as the world’s second-largest economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.

      Gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of just 0.4%, the Japanese government said today, far below the annualised 4.4% expansion in the first quarter. The news added to evidence that the global recovery is facing strong headwinds.

    • Pensions and the Public

      One of the conservative causes du jour is the parlous state of public employee pensions these days. And there’s no question that this really is a problem. Thanks to years of overoptimistic economic projections and the habit of politicians to prefer future cost increases to current cost increases, public pension funds are pretty seriously underfunded right now. That means taxpayers are going to have to come up with many billions of additional dollars to fund pensions at the levels that have been promised to public workers.

    • Attacking Social Security

      Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

    • Obama claims GOP trying to destroy Social Security

      President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.

    • Construction Workers’ Union to Rejoin A.F.L.-C.I.O.

      A spokesman for the laborers, David Miller, declined to confirm the decision. But he said that leaders of his union, which has 800,000 members and represents construction workers, would have more to say after a meeting on Sunday. Mr. Trumka told the federation’s executive council last week that the move would become final in October.

    • Destroying Social Security to ‘Save’ It: the Arithmetic of Benefit Cuts

      We know what the Trustees say: 100% of scheduled benefits payable through 2037 and 78% after that declining to 75% at the end of the projection period. Meaning that any proposal based on a crisis defined by “threatened future benefits” that produces a worse result in 2037 and after is some mixture of ineffectiveness and bait and switch, particularly if if also cuts benefits BEFORE 2037, from the perspective of the future retiree no matter what the age that proposal represents a dead loss. For workers the simplest benchmark is ’22%’, any ‘fix’ in excess of that is just theft from workers serving to advance some other purpose. Those purposes might be worthwhile on their own, but it is up to proponents to make the case to a democratic majority why the tradeoff is actually either in the interest of the nation and/or the vast majority of that nation that participates in Social Security.

    • Don’t like your banking fees? Tell the FDIC.

      In the financial world, we’re fed up with a lot of things. For example, it’s time for a Slater Slide for offensively high overdraft fees and bank check-cashing policies that can boost those fees.

    • New Rules on Finance to Be Done in the Open

      The Federal Reserve, which was given expanded responsibilities to protect the financial system, plans to require all staff members, not just senior officials, to keep track of every meeting with private sector representatives about the rule-writing required under the new law, including who was present and what was discussed. Summaries of the meetings will be routinely released on the Fed’s Web site.

    • Rising Profits Are Good, but There’s a Catch

      While higher profits are normally deemed good news, it matters why they are rising. “The same thing that caused the profit gains is squeezing now,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P., said. “It is the lack of jobs.”

    • ‘Good ol’ boys’ in Warren’s way?

      She can’t get 60 votes in the Senate, some say — too polarizing. Others say Warren’s outspoken public persona and left-leaning impulses are an uncomfortable fit for the new post riding herd on Wall Street, where she has few backers.

    • Techno-Thriller: Why Was Goldman Sachs So Worried About One Nerdy Sentence?

      It sounds like the plot to a dozen movies: Picture a corporation so powerful that its tentacles circle the globe and reach into the highest corridors of power. Yet a single sentence on an ex-employee’s obscure website forces it to move into action. That sentence is so important that it leaves the corporation with no choice but to make that employee …

      No, not disappear. They just made him delete it. (This is where the movie comparisons end.) But the question is, why? The sentence described the Goldman Sachs risk system, SecDB (which stands for securities database). It read: “Unbeknownst to most of the non-strategists, you could see basically every position and holding across the company, whether you were supposed to or not.”

    • In This Play, One Role Is Enough

      These companies — the biggest are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank — operate as the back office for the mortgage lending industry. In good times, their tasks are fairly simple: they take in monthly mortgage payments and distribute them to whoever owns the loans. In many cases, large institutions like pension funds or mutual funds own the mortgages, and servicers are obligated to act in their interests at all times.

      When borrowers are defaulting in droves, as they are now, loan servicing becomes much more complex and laborious. Servicers must chase delinquent borrowers for payments and otherwise manage these uneasy relationships, possibly into foreclosure.

    • Why Girly Jobs Don’t Pay Well

      More than 97 percent of employees in kindergarten and preschool teaching are women. Though women now average higher levels of educational attainment than men, many continue to enter occupations dominated by women where wages are relatively low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a great way of making public statements that are at once frank, unorthodox, thought provoking – and a little frightening. This weekend The Wall St. Journal ran an interview with Schmidt that offered tidbits like that on a wide range of topics. One statement in particular, that Schmidt thinks teenagers should be entitled to change their names upon reaching adulthood in order to separate themselves from the Google record of their youthful indiscretions, is something worth stopping to take note of.

    • South African journalists condemn efforts to silence them

      Royal sex scandals rarely come riper. A government minister is caught in bed with the king’s wife – in fact, one of the king’s 14 wives. Ndumiso Mamba, justice minister in Swaziland, is forced to resign and could yet face much worse from King Mswati III.

      But just about the last people to read this story were those in Swaziland itself. The censorious atmosphere in the tiny, impoverished kingdom contrasts with South Africa, where newspapers had a field day.

    • Clueless Commentators Think That It’s Possible To Stop Wikileaks

      Marc Thiessen is a former Bush speechwriter, who seems to have tried to make a second career out of saying really clueless things as loudly as possible. Lately he’s been on a rampage against Wikileaks, first suggesting that it somehow made sense to use US military power to track down and capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This resulted in a reporter pointing out that Thiessen’s response to Wikileaks is like the RIAA’s response to Napster: destined to backfire due to a basic misunderstanding of the internet.

      Apparently Thiessen either didn’t read or understand that response. Or, perhaps in the business of being loud and wrong, he just doesn’t care. He’s since written a few more pieces attacking Wikileaks, including directly blaming it for an Afghan tribal leader being killed… though in the very next sentence he admits he doesn’t know if that had anything to do with Wikileaks. Accuse first, find out the truth later, huh?

    • A war on drugs? No, this is a war on the Mexican people
    • Russian police arrest 35 to prevent protest at Moscow mayor’s office
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: what does the Google Verizon proposal mean for GNU Linux?

      With GNU/Linux on the desktop and the server, costs can be reduced considerably. what a pity it would be to see those savings frittered away by having to purchase premium access in a net un-neutral world. The irony is that if the internet loses net neutrality where will the next Google or Napster, dreamed up in a suburban garage by citizen programmers, come from? If Microsoft Windows had been the only platform available when Google was starting up, the cost of Windows licences for their first server farm might have sunk them before they got off the ground; but they had free and open source software, and they should remember that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Radio, RIAA: mandatory FM radio in cell phones is the future

        Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much, including whether radio should be forced to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for the music it plays. But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics.

        The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. “The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is “not in our national interest.”

        “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

      • The Insanity Of Music Licensing: In One Single Graphic

        What you see there is basically the result of a century or so of “bolting on” new licenses due to changes in the market, rather than any concerted effort to look at whether or not the underlying laws or licenses make sense. It’s the result of massive regulatory capture, as industries unwilling to change just run to the gov’t and demand to be compensated even as their old business models are going away. At what point do people say it’s time to scrap this mess and start from scratch?

      • Freakonomics Flips The Window: Releasing Movie Online Before In Theaters

        We’ve talked numerous times about the movie industry’s love affair with release windows, where they basically try to get people to pay for things multiple times by releasing them in different formats at different times. The first window, normally, is the theatrical release — and the theaters go absolutely livid if anyone suggests shortening the theatrical release window. Heaven forbid anyone go so far as to suggest something as “radical” as a so-called day and date release, where it’s released in all formats at the same time, and watch the theaters go ballistic and boycott the film, as a startling admission that they don’t think they can compete with home theaters.

        So, it’s quite interesting to see that the Freakonomics movie that’s coming out in the fall is apparently going to flip the windows over.

      • Hollywood Targets 8.2 Million Torrents at Bitsnoop

        While Bitsnoop may not have the profile of The Pirate Bay, make no mistake, this site is a major BitTorrent player. The site indexes more than 8 million torrents linking to roughly 9 petabytes of data. In the last few days Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN began threatening the site with the clear aim of bringing its activities to an end.

Clip of the Day

Compiz Fusion


Links 16/8/2010: Birthday of Debian, KDE SC 4.5.0 Coverage, Gestures With Multitouch

Posted in News Roundup at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • TV

    • The Netflix Linux Conjecture: How Netflix snubs the Linux comunity

      Conjecture: A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven but appears correct and has not been disproved. If that statement confuses you (and it may if you’re not a student of math), then you understand exactly how I felt during a discussion with Netflix’ Steve Swasey (VP of Corporate Communications – aka “Spin Doctor”). Quite frankly, the man didn’t spin the discussion in such a way to make Netflix anything but a tiny bit ignorant of the topic at hand.

      Before I go any further, I should probably tell you what this is all about. Netflix has a feature that allows members to stream movies directly to their PCs. To accomplish this, they use Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. Silverlight is basically a web-application framework that provides functions similar to that of Adobe Flash.

      Now, with that out of the way, let me give you the gist of the conversation between myself and Mr. Swasey:

      ME: Hello, I am a freelance writer for Techrepublic (CNET), Linux.com, and Ghacks.net and I get a LOT of readers asking why Netflix does not support Linux. I plan on doing an article on this very subject and was wondering if I could get your official statement on this very subject.

      Steve: Jack, Netflix wants to be ubiquitous on any screen you want to watch TV shows and movies on and we’re working to get on as many platforms as we can. However, Linux currently does not have a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in that’s comparable with Netflix playback. Please let me know if you have other questions.

    • CWTV adds Support for Streaming to Linux

      Back in March I had mentioned that one of the only issues I had to deal with when converting my girlfriend’s laptop to Linux Mint was that her favourite TV show would not stream to Linux. The reason for this is that CWTV, instead of using Adobe Flash, uses Move Media player to stream to Windows and OSX (Move does not support Linux). Because of this if you are on a Linux system you would simply receive an “operating system not supported” message when browsing the page with the stream.

  • Versus Windows

    • The Fanboi Stops Here

      My company computers were hacked in 2005…a three city network went down due to the Bagle virus, specifically referred to as W32/Bagle.J@MM

      It was fast, it was tenacious, it spread through Outlook and it was devastating.

      That was when I migrated my company computers and network to Linux. Of course I had help and without a good friend who knew what he was doing, it would have never happened…

      But it did and it worked for us….Professionally

    • Windesperation

      In Linux, the ritual of rebooting after an install becomes a hazy memory buried in the back of your brain. But this WAS Windows, not Mandriva Linux. With full lungs, XP said to me, “I don’t care what you do in Sparta, but THIS-IS- BOOTLAND!!!” and I had to reboot to try the program… After almost an hour, I was getting closer to getting things done at last.

      But then the firewall blocked the anti-Malware program. When I was trying to solve the problem, the firewall showed an alert of a high-rate attempt to access my computer from the outside. And then, it flashed a warning: “the Win32 Sality Virus that disables antivirus programs is becoming too common. Your version of the firewall cannot stop it, but an upgrade of the program can. Do you want to upgrade for free?” A year ago, I would have clicked YES immediately. However, more than an hour and 15 minutes had elapsed and I had not accomplished anything. The missing installation required me to knock off the firewall, but the firewall was asking me to update! This was too much. I felt completely unproductive in front of the computer. I was mad while I thought that this was XP, the most popular OS today. From what I have seen happening to happy users, Windows 7 performs pretty much in the same fashion, except that it requires more computer resources to run properly. That, in itself, is a funny paradox. I buy clothes that fit me; I do not buy shoes too wide for my feet hoping to fatten until the shoes fit. However, Microsoft expects you to drop XP and buy Windows 7 and to buy new hardware if your PC does not fulfill the requirements for 7. So, Windows is an OS to which the computer has to accommodate! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 162 – Neckbeards Unite!

      This week on the show: The Google/Verizon deal, the SFLC defends the GPL again, Canonical tracking Ubuntu installations, Google kills Wave, the Illumos Project revealed and of course lots of neckbeard action.

    • Episode 29 – How to get a job as a Linux Admin….

      1) Introduction

      We talk about an E-Mail from Matt. Matt wants to know how to get a job as a Jr. Linux Admin. We discuss some things we think anyone looking to make this career choice should do.

      [...]

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • A Common Compositing Window Manager Specification

      Martin Gräßlin, one of the KDE developers that works on the KWin window manager, when not working towards OpenGL 3.0 support for KWin in KDE SC 4.7 has been writing a draft specification for what he proposes as a unified specification for compositing window managers. Martin hopes for this to become a FreeDesktop.org specification and that KWin/Plasma, Compiz, and other compositing window managers would implement this common specification.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • How much of an Open Source Gypsy are you?

      On the next step down, we have desktop gypsies. These folks might well stay in a distro they know well, but might switch between KDE, Gnome, Xfce, LXDE, and others as their mood strikes. Again, I think it can only help everyone if we try and help these folks make the easiest and smoothest transition between them. Some will stick with a desktop, and some won’t, but making it easier for them to do so helps everyone who switches to that desktop.

    • Reviews

      • Puppy 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” Review

        The most recent release of Puppy Linux, version 5.1 “Lucid Puppy” has some huge changes which include binary compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 packages, easier package installation with Quickpet and in the Puppy Package Manager, a new Simple Network Setup utility and more. The official release announcement is here.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLINUXOS

        I have been using linux for about 4 years. I am by no means an expert but I would consider myself a little bit above average. I don’t usually write on my blog but something urged me to do it this time just so I can spread the word about Linux and this wonderful distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Happy Birthday, Debian!
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gestures with multitouch in Ubuntu 10.10

          Multitouch is just as useful on a desktop as it is on a phone or tablet, so I’m delighted that the first cut of Canonical’s UTouch framework has landed in Maverick and will be there for its release on 10.10.10.

          You’ll need 4-finger touch or better to get the most out of it, and we’re currently targeting the Dell XT2 as a development environment so the lucky folks with that machine will get the best results today. By release, we expect you’ll be able to use it with a range of devices from major manufacturers, and with addons like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

          The design team has lead the way, developing a “touch language” which goes beyond the work that we’ve seen elsewhere. Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated “sentences”.

        • Stunning New Gnome Shell Motion Design Mock Up[Video]
        • 10 Beautiful Wallpapers For Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’ From Official Ubuntu Artwork Pool

          Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr is buzzing with activity once again. With the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick getting nearer everyday, the submissions onto Ubuntu Artwork Pool in Flickr keeps piling on. Here are a few of those wallpapers that I think, are worth mentioning. Click on the links provided to get wallpapers with different resolutions.

        • Maverick Ubuntu

          No Gnome 3.0

          One of the big changes that most users have been waiting for is the Gnome 3.0 desktop. The brand new desktop interface won’t be making it into this release however. Originally Gnome 3.0 was scheduled for release in early October which was already cutting it fine for Ubuntu developers to include it. However, the Gnome developers have pushed back the release of Gnome 3.0 by another six months which means that the new desktop may not in fact reach Ubuntu until October 2011.

        • Trying Out The New Ubuntu 10.10 Installer

          Following last week’s Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 release but landing before the Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” feature freeze this week were a number of last-minute features like X Server 1.9 integration and other updated packages along with the committing of the revamped Ubuntu desktop installer to Maverick. Via this revamped Ubuntu installer it’s possible to install proprietary bits directly like support for MP3 audio files and proprietary graphics drivers.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 1 – Lubuntu

            Our candidate? Lubuntu, a Ubuntu flavor that uses LXDE as its desktop environment. I has everything that Ubuntu has going for it; large community support, tons of packages in the repositories and years of Ubuntu legacy and know-how.

          • Ubuntu Studio Sound Theme is Old But Still Really Good

            Ubuntu Studio is a multimedia enhanced Ubuntu variant packed with custom wallpapers, themes, screensavers, system sounds and more. With Canonical in the lookout for a new System Sounds theme for upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, all those who want to contribute may want to check out the original Ubuntu Studio sound theme for inspiration. They are pretty darn good IMO.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • We should all be using free software

    By free software, they do not mean software that is given away at no cost. Lifelong free software activist Richard Stallman uses the French word “libre” to describe his ideal software; it’s free as in freedom, not as in free beer. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) defines four criteria for this freedom: the freedom to run the software for any purpose; to study how it works (to have access to its source code); to redistribute copies; and to publish modified and improved versions.

  • Top tips for a successful open source project
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TabCandy becomes tab sets for Firefox 4

        Latest Firefox 4 nightly builds now feature Tab Sets, the ability to organize your tabs by visually grouping them to match your browsing style, introduced a few weeks ago as TabCandy.

        If you have tried the experimental build released at that time, you won’t notice much change except some important bug fixing for improved stability.

  • Oracle

    • Considerations For FLOSS Hackers About Oracle vs. Google

      James Gosling is usually pretty cryptic in his non-technical writing, but I think if you read carefully, it seems to me that Gosling regrets that Oracle now holds his patents on Java. I know developers get nice bonuses if they let their company apply for patents on their work. I also know there’s pressure in most large companies to get more patents. We, as developers, must simply refuse this. We invent this stuff, not the suits and the lawyers who want to exploit our work for larger and larger profits. As a community of developers and computer scientists, we must simply refuse to ever let someone patent our work. In a phrase: just say no.

    • Oracle Scorns Open Source: How to Respond?

      This was bound to happen, of course. Things were going too well. At a time when Google is activating 200,000 Android phones a day, and Android has overtaken the iPhone in terms of US market share, Oracle decided to drop the bomb…

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m4) available
    • Defending Free Software against Oracle’s attack

      I don’t think Google developed Dalvik to work round licensing and patent problems with Java, they developed it simply because Sun’s Java technology wasn’t good enough for what they wanted to do. If you watch Dan Bornstein’s presentation that is abundantly clear. Designing a new virtual machine runtime is hard, but not that hard. The JVM was influenced was influenced by the Pascal pcode system, and the Smalltalk virtual machine architecture from the 1970s has also been very influential. Recently there have been a pile of virtual machines for JavaScript being developed. Thirty years later after Smalltalk-80 the technology of virtual machines and JIT compilation is really mainstream.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Wondermedia WM8505 Linux + u-boot source code

      In recent months, a number of alleged GPL-violation reports regarding products (tablet computers, mini netbooks and the like) using the Wondermedia WM850x line of ARM SoCs. People have been contacting me, as I was working as VIA Open Source Liaison, and there is the general belief that VIA and Wondermedia Technology (WMT) are one company.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Truth-o-Meter, 2G: Andrew Lih wants to wikify fact-checking

      At the same time, though, “I welcome die-hard Fox viewers,” Lih says. “I welcome people who think Accuracy in Media is the last word. Because if you can cite from a reliable source — from a congressional record, from the Census Bureau, from the Geological Survey, from CIA Factbook, from something — then by all means, I don’t really care what your political stripes are. Because the facts should win out in the end.”

Leftovers

  • Grope Claim Against Donald Duck

    While visiting Epcot Center in Florida, a Pennsylvania woman alleges that a Disney employee dressed as Donald Duck grabbed her breast and molested her after she sought an autograph.

  • Health

    • Christopher Hitchens: Topic of Cancer

      One fine June day, the author is launching his best-selling memoir, Hitch-22. The next, he’s throwing up backstage at The Daily Show, in a brief bout of denial, before entering the unfamiliar country—with its egalitarian spirit, martial metaphors, and hard bargains of people who have cancer.

      [...]

      These are my first raw reactions to being stricken. I am quietly resolved to resist bodily as best I can, even if only passively, and to seek the most advanced advice. My heart and blood pressure and many other registers are now strong again: indeed, it occurs to me that if I didn’t have such a stout constitution I might have led a much healthier life thus far. Against me is the blind, emotionless alien, cheered on by some who have long wished me ill. But on the side of my continued life is a group of brilliant and selfless physicians plus an astonishing number of prayer groups. On both of these I hope to write next time if—as my father invariably said—I am spared.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fla. developer sues Halliburton over Gulf spill

      Florida real estate developer St. Joe Co. is suing Halliburton Co. over its role in the rig explosion that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Confessions of a recovering environmentalist

      I generalise, of course. Environmentalism’s chancel is as accommodating as that of socialism, anarchism or conservatism, and just as capable of generating poisonous internal bickering that will last until the death of the sun. Many who call themselves green have little time for the mainstream line I am attacking here. But it is the mainstream line. It is how most people see environmentalism today, even if it is not how all environmentalists intend it to be seen. These are the arguments and the positions that popular environmentalism – now a global force – offers up in its quest for redemption. There are reasons; there are always reasons. But whatever they are, they have led the greens down a dark, litter-strewn dead end street, where the bins overflow, the lightbulbs have blown and the stray dogs are very hungry indeed.

      What is to be done about this? Probably nothing. It was perhaps inevitable that a utilitarian society would generate a utilitarian environmentalism, and inevitable too that the greens would not be able to last for long outside the established political bunkers. But for me, now – well, this is no longer mine, that’s all. I can’t make my peace with people who cannibalise the land in the name of saving it. I can’t speak the language of science without a corresponding poetry. I can’t speak with a straight face about saving the planet when what I really mean is saving myself from what is coming.

    • Huge ice island could pose threat to oil, shipping

      An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

      Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912.

  • Finance

    • IT Hiring Continues to Improve, According to Surveys

      Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

    • IMF document illustrates plan to raise global currency

      It’s no secret that many of the world’s largest industrialized nations are somewhat eager to ease their reliance on the U.S. dollar. For months China and Russia have pushed ever subtly, for a new “global reserve currency,” to give governments around the world enhanced economic stability in the event of greater fluctuations in the dollar’s value.

    • Financial Fallout: The Surprising Effects of a Recession

      In March 2010, ScienceDaily published a story about an intriguing report investigating the connection between stock-market activity and the frequency of heart attacks.

      The researchers, a team from Duke University Medical Center, discovered an increased incidence of cardiac arrest in the United States between January 2008 and July 2009, precisely when the stock market showed a clear decline in the midst of a massive economic crisis.

      Although the scientists determined in subsequent tests that this inverse relationship wasn’t quite as pronounced as they believed initially (due to seasonal fluctuations in heart attack rates), their study remains groundbreaking in terms of its efforts to explore a rarely covered topic: the impact of economic patterns on cardiovascular events.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality is foremost free speech issue of our time

      If we learned that the government was planning to limit our First Amendment rights, we’d be outraged. After all, our right to be heard is fundamental to our democracy.

      Well, our free speech rights are under assault — not from the government but from corporations seeking to control the flow of information in America.

      If that scares you as much as it scares me, then you need to care about net neutrality.

    • Who Will Kill Net Neutrality?
    • eBooks, Open and Closed

      This means that I can’t buy an book in EPUB format and read it on my hardware or software EPUB reader of choice. Or rather, I can do so only under limited circumstances. For example, I can read a Sony B&N ebook on a Nook, but I can’t read a B&N ebook on a Sony reader. Or, when I Google anything to do with EPUB and DRM, I get a lot of links that seem to lead to instructions for stripping DRM.

    • Simple Coloured Bash Prompts
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Jay-Z spoof Newport State Of Mind removed from YouTube

        The hit internet spoof video Newport State Of Mind which parodies Jay-Z has been removed from YouTube due to a “copyright claim” by EMI Publishing.

      • Once More (With Feeling): There’s Still A Role For Record Labels… But It’s Changing

        But we’ve regularly highlighted smart labels doing cool things, and others are noticing that as well. The New Yorker has a nice article pointing out that there’s still a role for record labels to help a band do all the stuff it doesn’t want to do itself, and that many indie labels have done a good job figuring this out. The article focuses mainly on the band Arcade Fire, and the success it’s had, despite being on a small “indie label.” It mentions the band Vampire Weekend, which has also had similar success.

        There’s nothing revolutionary about what their labels are doing. It’s just that the bands generally have a bit more control and are less a cog in a giant machine, allowing them to stay a bit more true to their musical roots. As the article notes, this is “not a radical change so much as a scaling back, a return to a business model that involves fewer people, and concentrates on the product.” Indeed, it notes that the major record labels are still where bands may go to play the lottery — to try to get that one big check. But these more innovative and nimble indie labels are where a band is likely to go if it actually wants to make a career.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Talks Resume: Round Ten Opens Today in Washington

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks resume today as Round Ten opens in Washington, DC. The full agenda indicates that all the issues will be addressed along with discussions of many smaller matters that have been left until the end. Following the last round in Lucerne, Switzerland (which only concluded 47 days ago), I had several posts on the leaked draft that tried to identify the primary areas of disagreement, the Canadian positions, the U.S. decision to cave on anti-circumvention, the importance of geographical indications in the talks, and speculation on the prospect of the EU walking away from ACTA.

Clip of the Day

Qt 4.6 Mobile Demos on Maemo & Symbian


08.15.10

Links 15/8/2010: Dell Streak Catchup and Misc. News

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Terrafugia Flying Car Approved by FAA, Will Be Available Next Year

    Late next year, you’ll be able to buy your own flying car — er, “roadable aircraft” — thanks to a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration. As long as you have $194,000 and a sport pilot license.

  • Tour of full-sized Bloodhound SuperSonic car model
  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Geoengineering = Futurological Greenwashing

      Alex has similarly argued that geo-engineering is a form of greenwashing in this post.

    • Resource: New Mobile App to Combat Climate Skeptics

      Ever wish you had all the top climate information at your fingertips? If you’re the owner of a smart phone, then your wish has been fulfilled: the “Skeptical Science” app for iphones, Android phones, and Nokia phones is available now (for free!).

    • Hope for a future beyond oil

      We have a full crew and a pretty big campaign team on board with people from all over the globe including Argentina, Panama, India, Australia, Sweden, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Ukraine, the Cook Islands and Bermuda. I’ll introduce you to various members of the crew throughout our journey and there will be opportunities for you to talk directly with them via twitter and maybe even live video if our satellite system is up for it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    • The nuclear threat from Russia’s forest fires
    • Nuclear News: Iran ready to launch Bushehr nuclear power plant: official

      An Iranian official said Thursday that the country is ready to launch its first Bushehr nuclear power plant, the official IRNA news agency reported. Chief of Bushehr nuclear power plant workshop, Mahmoud Jafari, said in Bushehr that the main tests and inspections of the power plant have been successfully carried out during the last six months, the report said. Double-checks, “installations and montage stage is completed and we are about to launch the power plant,” Jafari was quoted as saying without referring to the specific time. In July, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia’s state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom, said that preparations for the launch of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant are proceeding as scheduled and the plant’s first stage will be finished late August. Iran handed over the Bushehr project, started by German firm Siemens in the 1970s, to Russia in 1995. The launch of project has been postponed repeatedly in recent years.’

    • Nuclear News: Russia declares state of emergency in nuclear town as wildfires blaze
    • Another Crack: Petermann Glacier, Giant Ice Island, Breaks Off Into The Sea

      While the Senate, the White House, and delegates in Bonn at the international climate negotiations dither, Mother Nature keeps the hits coming. Russia is of course baking in record heat and now the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland has lost an iceberg of 87 square kilometers in size. For scale, the ice sheet is said to be 4 times the size of Manhattan.

    • Security contractor: BP fired me for taking photos of dispersants

      A security contractor who was once responsible for keeping reporters away from cleanup workers is now coming forward to blow the whistle on BP.

      Adam Dillon claims he was fired by the oil company after he took pictures showing how dispersants were being used in the Gulf.

    • BP to pay 50 mln dlr fine for deadly 2005 Texas blast

      BP agreed to pay a record 50.6 million dollar fine for safety violations at its troubled Texas City refinery, officials said in a settlement which could deepen the energy giant’s legal woes.

    • BP’s Deep Secrets
    • Social-engineering contest reveals secret BP info

      With just two phone calls, entrant Josh Michaels managed to dupe a computer support employee at BP into spilling details that could have proved crucial in launching a network attack against the global oil company. The information included what model laptops BP used and the specific operating system, browser, anti-virus and virtual private network software the company used.

      Michaels was also able to trick the employee into visiting Social-Engineer.org, a feat that won the contestant extra points.

    • Climate data shows June 2010 to be Earth’s hottest month on record

      Temperatures warmer than average spread throughout the globe in recent months, most prominently in Peru, in the central and eastern United States and in eastern and western Asia, according to NOAA.

    • EU climate exchange website hit by green-hat hacker

      An EU Climate Exchange website was hacked as part of a political protest against carbon credits by a green-hat defacement crew.

    • A looming oxygen crisis and its impact on our oceans

      We’ve known for a while that we are poisoning the oceans and that human emissions of carbon dioxide, left unchecked, would likely have devastating consequences. A 2010 study found that oceans are acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred.

  • Finance

    • Did market efficiency cause the sub-prime mortgage meltdown?

      This time around I learned something even more interesting from Liar’s Poker: the most important thing for a young Wall Street trader to learn (from the perspective of the firm’s ‘mentors’) was how to take advantage of the firm’s customers. You see the greatest market inefficiency turns out to be trust. Anyone who went to a large Wall Street firm like Salomon Brothers in 1985 seeking financial advice was pretty much like an African wildebeest without the ability to smell lions.

      If you happen to have a copy of Liar’s Poker on your Kindle I would direct you to location 2954 – 3060 (about 65% of the way through the book). This is where Lewis describes his first experience “helping” a customer. He was set up by people within Salomon Brothers to push bonds that were likely to devalue, which caused his first (and very trusting) customer to lose so much money that he was soon fired from his nice job. Why would some trader at Solomon Brothers push bonds on a customer that were likely to devalue? Because Solomon Brothers owned the bonds and needed to get rid of them before they devalued more than they had already.

      Do you sense a conflict of interest? Yes, and so did Lewis (only because he was a newbie). When Lewis found out he had been used he confronted the trader who had set him up. Instead of being sheepish, the trader responded harshly to Lewis: “‘Look,’ he said losing his patience,’who do you work for, this guy, or Solomon Brothers?’” In other words, internally, the traders and managers didn’t even pretend that they were supposed to serving their customers.

    • Job ads up despite coalition cutbacks (UK)

      The number of jobs advertised in the public sector has fallen 21 per cent since the last survey in March. But contracting jobs for local and central government IT departments is still a strong sector and places more adverts than any others except for finance.

    • Geithner: Unemployment could go up before it goes down

      Geithner defends tax policy; Argues extending cuts for rich would be ‘deeply irresponsible’

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Websites take on bogus reviewers

      Customer review sites are a useful way to find out about products and services, and for the businesses themselves they can be a valuable source of publicity. But a number of spam reviews sweeping the web are damaging local firms who depend on them to help make or break their reputation.

    • Policing the Web’s Lurid Precincts

      Ricky Bess spends eight hours a day in front of a computer near Orlando, Fla., viewing some of the worst depravities harbored on the Internet. He has seen photographs of graphic gang killings, animal abuse and twisted forms of pornography. One recent sighting was a photo of two teenage boys gleefully pointing guns at another boy, who is crying.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • BlackBerry assures India on access to services

      Research In Motion has promised India a technical solution for decoding encrypted BlackBerry data, a senior official said on Friday, a step that could allay Indian security concerns about the smartphone and avert a shutdown.

    • Google lets uneasy Germans opt out of ‘Street View’

      Google said Tuesday it would allow Germans to opt out of its disputed Street View navigation service ahead of its launch in the country this year but privacy watchdogs were still not happy.

      The move is part of an effort to placate German authorities, who have serious concerns about the service that allows users to view online panoramic still photos at street level taken using specially equipped vehicles.

    • Suit alleges Disney, other top sites spied on users

      A lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges that a group of well-known Web sites, including those owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Records, and Demand Media, broke the law by secretly tracking the Web movements of their users, including children.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation – Cindy Cohn
    • How to Crush Dissent

      While in Berlin for the LinuxTag 2010 conference a couple of months ago, I took the opportunity for a 8-mile long meandering walk across the city, from Warschauer Strasse and the East Side Gallery to Wittenbergplatz and KaDeWe, taking in the various historical sites along the way. It was a great refresher course in 20th century European history. I especially enjoyed the free outdoor exhibit in Alexanderplatz, which dealt with the Revolutions of 1989 with a focus on the various dissident movements and publications in the DDR. Most were self-published, stealthily distributed samizdat newletters, copied laboriously using typewriters and carbon paper, primitive printing presses, or toward the end, some personal computers smuggled in from the West. They had on display an Amiga 500 and an NEC Pinwriter P6 used in 1989. Through “advanced” technology like this, document production could be raised from a few hundred to tens of thousands of copies.

      [...]

      I strongly believe that the capability for citizens to dissent is an essential complement to fallible leadership. And all leadership is fallible. Without such capabilities, transitions of power may be less frequent, but they also may be far bloodier.

    • Hiding files in Flickr pics will fool web censors

      Life is about to become more difficult for countries trying to censor access to foreign websites. A system dubbed Collage will allow users in these countries to download stories from blocked sites while visiting seemingly uncontroversial sites such as Flickr.

      Collage relies on a well-established technique known as digital steganography, in which an image file is changed to encode the hidden message without obviously affecting the appearance of the image. A prototype version is due to be unveiled on Friday, 13 August.

      Steganography normally requires specialist software, but Collage is designed so that anti-censorship activists and readers can publish and download the hidden stories without any specialist skills. A publisher or activist can, for example, use Collage to copy news stories from a website and embed the articles into Flickr images in a process that is almost entirely automated.

    • Legal action on ‘zombie cookies’ filed in US court

      A legal challenge has been launched in the US against a number of websites amid claims that they were engaged in “covert surveillance” of users.

      The lawsuit alleges that a number of firms, including Hulu, MTV, and Myspace, used a Quantcast Flash application to restore deleted cookies.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality for wireless? Don’t count on it.

      Earlier this week, Google and Verizon brokered a compromise on the definition — or at least, their definition — of net neutrality, a set of rules that ideally, would ensure that no company could place data-access restrictions on Web content, sites, platforms, and associated equipment. The deal itself sparked controversy over whose interests Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) really had at heart and whether the deal would — or more importantly, should — be used as a model by the Federal Communications Commission.

    • Wacky Google/Verizon net neutrality theory

      What if Google agreed to Verizon’s stance on wireless net neutrality in order to keep Verizon from making a deal with Apple for the iPhone?

      Rumors about Verizon and the iPhone are evergreens, and now that the iPhone 4 hype is dying down, those rumors are starting up again. Coincidental timing of “Huge CDMA chipset order” rumors and this net neutrality piece shouldn’t be anything other than coincidental.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Marking and Tagging the Public Domain: An Invitation to Comment

        Almost 1½ years have passed since we launched CC0 v1.0, our public domain waiver that allows rights holders to place a work as nearly as possible into the public domain, worldwide, prior to the expiration of copyright. CC0 has proven a valuable tool for governments, scientists, data providers, providers of bibliographic data, and many others throughout world. At the time we published CC0, we made note of a second public domain tool under development — a tool that would make it easy for people to tag and find content already in the public domain.

      • LA reporter abandons YouTube copyright case

        A Los Angeles journalist who was accused of leaking confidential court documents from his lawsuit against YouTube has abandoned his suit and has agreed to pay $20,000 to the video-sharing site.

      • New Jersey Hit With Fees Over Truth-in-Music Law

        New Jersey will have to pay the legal fees for a music promoter that sued the state to stop it from enforcing its “truth-in-music” law.

      • Brazil supports fair use

        The law change was discussed on Micheal Geist’s blog at the end of last week, where Geist, who is a Canadian law professor, said that it “Establishes equivalent penalties for hindering or preventing the users from exercising their fair dealing rights. In other words, the Brazilian proposals recognise what the Supreme Court of Canada stated several years ago – over-protection is just as harmful as under-protection.”

      • Pirate Party can’t contest Federal election

        “Our application to register is before the Australian Electoral Commission, however a party cannot be registered once an election has been called,” the party said in a statement over the weekend. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called the next Federal election for August 21.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Jan 07 2001


08.14.10

Links 14/8/2010: GNOME Foundation’s New Rules, X.Org Server 1.9 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Google

  • Kernel Space

    • Qualcomm’s Take on Open Mobile Platforms

      Chandhok: The Linux kernel is the central key element of the common baseline package we would like to see emerge in mobile Linux. This engineer will help QuIC make important upstream contributions to the Linux kernel that, ideally, would be part of this common package. At a minimum, we expect this individual to help make valuable upstream kernel contributions that make it into the main distributions on offer today, or coming in subsequent years.



    • There’s more to FOSS than the Linux Foundation

      As a Canadian, I’m always irked by airy statements by Americans that they won World War II. Yes, the Americans entry into the war was decisive, but their side was not called the Allies for nothing, and many other countries contributed to the victory or at least kept the fight alive in the years before the United Stated joined in. With all respect, I feel much the same way about the recent interview on Wired.com with Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation/

      Published to coincide with this week’s LinuxCon in Boston, the interview begins by describing Zemlin as “part legal guardian, part keeper of the flame. The non-profit foundation he runs is charged with promoting the growth of Linux, drafting new industry standards for its use, and defending it against legal challenges.”

      To be clear, let me emphasize that these are not Zemlin’s words. Nor, do the words in any way reflect the attitudes expressed by Zemlin or any of the Linux Foundation staff with whom I have had dealings over the years. Zemlin in particular, has always seemed to combine helpfulness and enthusiasm with far less ego than you might expect from someone with his level of responsibility.

      Nor would I deny for a moment that the Linux Foundation has done a reasonable job of representing the corporate face of open source and the Linux kernel. Not only does the Foundation seem to be a genuinely neutral meeting ground, but its support for major developers like Linus Torvalds, Till Kamppeter, and Theodore Ts’o benefits everyone in free and open source software (FOSS).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s 2D Performance With X.Org Server 1.9

        X.Org Server 1.9 is set to be released as soon as next week, has already been pulled into Ubuntu 10.10, and is part of the X.Org 7.6 katamari. While X.Org Server 1.9 does not bring many exciting end-user changes like previously releases that introduced RandR 1.2, Multi-Pointer X / X Input 2.0, and other new technologies, there are plenty of bug fixes and other minor improvements throughout the X Server. In this article, we are looking at how the Intel DDX driver performance changes when upgrading from X.Org Server 1.8.2 to the latest X.Org Server 1.9 development code.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.8.99.906

        A bunch of bug fixes for this (final?) release candidate.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Kiosk in KDE 4

        I’ve been working on my BS thesis with the name “Parental mode in KDE”. The name can be a bit misleading, because I was mainly working on some kdelibs internals (integration of KAuth into Kiosk) and the Kiosk Admin Tool application.

        The first part of the work uncovered some nasty things in PolicyKit and ended with a simple outcome: using KAuth/PolicyKit as a back-end for Kiosk is too problematic and would require rewriting a good part of PolicyKit to make it work at all. For example: unlike Kiosk, PolicyKit doesn’t have support for profiles that could be assigned to users and groups, is much slower compared to KConfig/Kiosk, and in the PolicyKit1 incarnation isn’t stable enough for heavy use. See freedesktop bugs 29394 and 29069 for some details. Only positive outcome up to now is that Dario Freddi fixed some problems I found in KAuth. I wanted to do it but he was faster ;-)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Foundation sets out new rules for copyright assignment

        The Foundation, with assistance from its Advisory Board, Bradley Kuhn and Michael Meeks, has now published the new policy. Although future decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, by both the Release Team and the Foundation’s board, the requirements of the new policy and the Foundation’s guidelines, aim to ensure that only sufficiently free code is included in GNOME.

      • Elementary, Ambiance, Sonar – Most Beautiful GNOME Shell Themes Ever!

        We saw the quiet evolution of GNOME Shell aka the next generation GNOME desktop environment. Now lets do some GNOME Shell theming. Hope you guys are familiar with Elementary and Ambiance GTK themes. Now they have these stunning GNOME Shell variants which are absolutely beautiful. First of all you need to download these themes.

      • Web services need to be Free

        Web services, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or other services could be a risk to users freedom if people aren’t careful. Peters suggested that users need to make sure that their data is portable so they can move their data if need be.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Tales From the Front: in Search of APT-GET UNDO

        I tell you (from my text editor) that a broken X-server is every bit as traumatic as the old “blue screens of death” were, and it doesn’t help when one realizes that searching for help usually reveals nothing but a few snide insults and a comment that when you start needing to downgrade packages, you’re only a step away from needing to reinstall your system.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat: A Preview

          These represent only the most noticeable of the changes planned for Ubuntu 10.10; there are certainly others already out there, and yet more may appear before the final development freezes are reached later this month. We’ll continue to follow Maverick as it nears its final release date of October 10.

        • Finding the Ubuntu font design

          Between ourselves and the Canonical team we chose version T3 from the remaining three designs as a basis for further development.

        • Free Software on the reservations

          When speaking of upstream providers, downstream sellers, and end users, this is an analogous representation of what a project like Ubuntu already does in terms of it’s upstream and downstream relationships, when paralleled into economics. Equally important, free software allows cooperative expertise rather than forcing rivalrous knowledge. Since one cannot derive exclusive benefit at the expense of another, there is much greater incentive for people working on similar problems to do so together, even when the outcome is in free software that will then be commercially sold. This might be thought of both as a market of both abundance and mutual interdependency, and such markets are the only kind I have seen that can self-sustain without abuse.

          With no market barriers to participation, and with the possibility for near zero cost in distribution, much of the cost of commercially starting in free software are entirely infrastructure and equipment costs. Given the cooperative nature of free software, this too could lend itself to shared or cooperative costs. Individual nations could even minimally invest in setting up small community development centers where equipment and infrastructure are particularly scarce. We had looked at starting something very much like this in Lakotah.

          Free software certainly will not solve all the problems of the captive nations alone. However, it certainly can even in a small way help contribute to the establishment of sustainable economic development as well as a means to enable individual and communal economic sovereignty even in the present world, and hence to do so without having to compromise core social and cultural principles in the process.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged box PC braces for global warming

      Kontron announced a fanless industrial box computer that runs on an Intel Atom N270 and can withstand temperatures of between five and 140 deg. F (-15 to 60 deg. C). The Kontron Embedded Box PC CB 752 is equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports and six USB 2.0 ports, plus serial, optional CAN bus, and Mini PCIe connectivity, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Palm enabling webOS apps to interact with Universal Search, dock mode?

        When our own esteemed Paul Miller cracked the mystery that allows the Motorola Droid to behave differently when docked than when in the hand, it took a little of the magic out the switch. However, that doesn’t diminish from its utility, and it’s a feature that could be coming to webOS.

      • Android

        • Introducing the Dell Blaze
        • Augen Switches to AndAppStore on Tablet No Longer Available at Kmart

          Augen, maker of the GenTouch78, the well known “$150 Kmart tablet,” has been under fire from Google for distributing the Android Market and other Google apps without permission. Since Augen and Google were not able to come to an licensing arrangement for the proprietary apps (no surprise since Google has not yet licensed the apps for any tablet without telephony capabilities), Augen has decided to use a 3rd party app store on the devices. AndAppStore, created by Funky Android Ltd., has been around for a couple of years and aims to provide an efficient connection between users and developers. Al Sutton, director of Funky Android, said they “are always willing to help OEMs and hardware distributors by providing them with a royalty and contract free alternative to Google’s Android Market, and we are happy to have been able to assist Augen in resolving this issue.” Augen has made AndAppStore available as a download from their support site, and any Android user can download and install the AndAppStore client directly from Funky Android.

Leftovers

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Movie Cammer Faces Jail Sentence

        A man has been charged with fraud and copyright offenses after being accused of camcording several Hollywood flicks, including the Jennifer Aniston movie The Bounty Hunter. Unlike other countries around the world, recording a movie in a theater is not specifically illegal in the UK so considering the serious nature of the charges, why is this man facing a potential jail sentence?

Clip of the Day

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish


Links 14/8/2010: ASUS Linux-based Tablet for $300, OpenSolaris Phased Out

Posted in News Roundup at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Distributed Computing’s Broadening Scope

      Yet, even this is not totally new, as various projects have invited volunteers to share their computer resources for years. Some of these projects have been open-source-based, others have been highly proprietary, while a few have supported both. Motivations for these projects range from how to accomplish a task when you have almost no money to support it, to having money, but machines with the power you need are just not available.

  • IBM

    • Linux Is On Parity With AIX Unix

      “Linux is on parity with AIX,” Healy told InternetNews.com in response to a question about how IBM is positioning AIX against Linux. “Linux enables choice. I think that’s one of the basic tenants of the faith.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux KVM Eyes ‘World Domination’

      Kernel-based Virtual Machine, or KVM, is a growing Linux technology for virtualization. Speaking at LinuxCon this week, Red Hat Senior Engineer Chris Wright noted that the open source project is on track to meet some very lofty goals.

      “We’re on track for total world domination,” Wright told the capacity crowd.

      He might be joking, but KVM is certainly on a tear. The project has amassed a number of big-name contributors, like IBM, Novell and Intel. Red Hat itself jumped into KVM in earnest with its $107 million purchase of Qumranet in 2008, thereby setting the stage to distance itself from Xen, the rival open source technology it had previously used.

    • LinuxCon grapples with challenges, from mobile to multicore

      This week’s LinuxCon show featured some lively discussions over the fate of the fast-growing open source operating system, says eWEEK. Hosted by the Linux Foundation (LF), the event explored cloud computing, social networking, Android integration, GPL licensing, Linux kernel challenges such as multicore processing and code complexity, and MeeGo, among other issues.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME: More open source web services, hosting services needed

        Stormy Peters, executive director of the GNOME Foundation, said the open source community has fallen behind Google and other proprietary web services developers and must write more Affero GPL-based web services, integrate them better with the Linux desktop and offer hosting services for open source web services such as Gobby.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Readers sound off on Dell Ubuntu support, Adobe Reader updates

          Not everyone is as happy with Dell as Tom is. In response to my post “Where are Dell’s Ubuntu PCs?” there was quite a debate over the relative merits and evils of companies that will or will not offer some systems with Ubuntu preinstalled.

          Some Gripe Line readers expressed fears of a collusion with Microsoft to scuttle Ubuntu; others suggested that software should never be preinstalled on computers at all; and a third camp decried Ubuntu as a “toy” operating system.

          Gripe Line reader Alex offered a unique solution to Dell’s Ubuntu conundrum: “We want Ubuntu options on all of their machines!”

        • The New Ubuntu 10.10 Installer Is Live

          Today we had the pleasure of playing a little with the new Ubuntu installer, present in the latest daily build of the upcoming Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10) operating system, due for release in October 10th, 2010. The installer is completely revamped and accessible by Linux beginners.

        • Snag a copy of “The Incredible Guide to NEW Ubuntu (Karmic Koala)”
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Puppy Linux 5.1: Now Ubuntu Lucid Lynx package compatible

            The latest release of Puppy Linux, version 5.1, is codenamed “Lucid Puppy” as it is now binary compatible with the packages available for Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx. The announcement and release notes say that because of this compatibility the time now taken to produce “packages that are tested and configured for Lucid Puppy is extremely short”. Lucid Puppy can now be downloaded (direct download) as a 130MB Live CD ISO file. Work on Puppy Linux 5.1 has focussed on improving the “lean and fast” distributions user interface, with friendlier dialogues and enhanced graphics, along with upgrading the many packages and tools of the distribution.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Will HTC ‘Glacier’ Trigger Fastphone Wars?

          The next big Android phone could be really fast. How fast? Well, faster than any other smartphone yet built. Rumored to be coming from HTC — and going by the puzzling name “Glacier” — the smartphone could come with a dual-core processor and possibly a hefty battery to power it.

        • Speak Commands with Google’s Voice Actions for Android App

          Google executives outlined 12 new “Voice Actions for Android,” including phone calls, reminder e-mails, direction search, and music search. (Searching for generic links, a traditional function of Android, is number 13.) The app is called “Voice Search,” requires Android 2.2, and is available in the Android Market now, Google executives said.

        • Sony Planning PSP Phone, Android 3.0 Gaming Platform?

          Scooping speculators, Engadget claims it can exclusively reveal Sony Ericsson’s plans to introduce a brand new gaming handheld. What’s more, the handheld will run “Gingerbread,” the codename for Android 3.0, Google’s mobile Linux/GNU platform rumored to be deploying already this October.

        • Open Source Rockbox audio software could be headed to Android

          Rockbox is an open source project offering software that can replace the default firmware on a number of portable media players including Apple iPod models as well as some media players from Archos, iRiver, Cowan, Toshiba, SanDisk, and Olympus. Now it looks like some developers are working on retooling Rockbox so that it can run as an application rather than a complete software environment in its own right — and the goal is to get a Rockbox app up and running on Google Android.

        • What’s the Real Reason Behind the Popularity of Android Phones?

          Strength in numbers – One possibility is that the FOSS community finally has a smartphone they can stand behind, since the iPhone doesn’t prove to be very popular with those who don’t want to support Apple products or philosophy. The sheer number of people in the open source community who pounced on a phone with the a platform that’s near and dear to their hearts may be enough to drive sales numbers through the roof.

    • Tablets

      • Asus to Release Eee Tablet With Linux in October for $300

        Asustek Computer plans to launch its long awaited Eee Tablet with an 8-inch LCD touchscreen in October for around US$300, though prices vary by market.

        [...]

        Asustek says the device will run for 10 hours before needing a recharge. It has 2GB of internal memory for storage and a MicroSD card slot to add more capacity.

      • Axon Haptic Tablet Lets You Install Any OS

        The Axon Haptic is a tabula rasa of a tablet. It comes as an empty, OS-less shell, waiting for you to install your choice of operating-system. The hardware of this ten-inch tablet is designed to work with almost any OS, from various Linux flavors through Windows to OS X. Yes, this little baby is hackintosh-ready.

      • Linux Getting Tablet Love From ASUS and Axon Logic Hopefully More To Come

        In all this commotion in the tablet community Linux has take a backseat. Until today when ASUS and Axon Logic released information on their respective tablet’s that showed Linux as an option for consumers. ASUS showed they will be releasing the ASUS Eee Tablet(pictured above) in October for $300 in a Linux model. Axon Logic a relatively unknown also released their plans for a tablet that will not only be able to run Windows and OSX but it will also run Linux, their tablet the Axon Haptic and it’s set to cost about $800.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Worlds first 20 minute voice call from a Free Software GSM stack on a phone

    As Dieter Spaar has pointed out in a mailing list post on the OsmocomBB developer list, he has managed to get a first alpha version of TCH (Traffic Channel) code released, supporting the FR and EFR GSM codecs.

  • AMD quickly updates ATI Stream SDK to OpenCL 1.1

    In addition to support for OpenCL 1.1 and the embrace of Ubuntu and RHEL among it supported platforms, ATI Stream SDK v2.2 expands Linux and Windows compiler support and includes a host of other upgrades, which you can peruse here.

  • Enterprise: Yeah, We’re Cool With Open Source
  • Making Hadoop Accessible via Open Source BI
  • City of Denver Dives Into the World of Open-Source

    The city and county of Denver, Co. is taking a big dive into the world of open-source – another sign of a global trend by government organizations to adopt open practices to benefit its citizenry and to better improve often archaic technology infrastructures.

  • IT executives and developers on open source collision course

    The survey results also found that IT executives were much more pragmatic about increasing open source usage and that software developers — who tend to favor open source usage — are increasingly important to product selection decisions. Thus, there’s a potential for a collision between the business’ mentality of “use what’s most appropriate,” and developers’ mentality of “we want open source everywhere possible.”

  • Open-source pitches developers against IT management

    Even as adoption of open-source platforms usage across organizations increases, the potential for collision of developer and IT executives’ interests intensifies, Infoworld reported.

    A recent report drawn from five Forrester, Eclipse Foundation and “Dr. Dobbs” surveys over the past two years showed that nearly 80 percent of organizations are using open source software in IT development projects.

  • eZuce announces open source UC solution

    Positioning itself as a start-up, eZuce has launched a software-based, open source unified communications solution targeting enterprises with 200 to 10,000 users. Industry veterans and creators of SIPfoundry, Dr. Martin Steinmann and Jerry Stabile, are company co-founders.

  • Open source givers and takers

    Second, “how many companies plan to contribute” isn’t the right metric. One of the things I’ve learned from my involvement in industry is that the most successful and effective groups are small. The right metric is “are there enough contributors to move the project forward?” For the key projects (like Apache), clearly the answer is “yes.” “Enough” is much more important than “how many.” The last thing we need are projects that slow to a crawl because of the bloated development-by-committee that characterizes many corporate environments. In the late ’80s, I worked for a startup that developed (among other things) a FORTRAN compiler. We sent our 10-person compiler group up to DEC for a meeting, where they found out that DEC’s FORTRAN compiler group had 2,000 people. DEC couldn’t understand how we got anything done. More to the point, our guys couldn’t understand how DEC got anything done.

  • Flexibility Drives Open Source Adoption

    One of the myths about open source software is that IT organizations adopt it because it’s free. But it turns out that while cost is definitely a factor – especially in these tough economic times – the bigger issue is flexibility.

    There’s a lot of administrative overhead associated with testing and deploying proprietary software in the enterprise. In contrast, open source software can generally be downloaded and tested by virtually any member of the IT staff without a whole lot of interaction with vendor salespeople and internal purchasing departments.

  • Events

    • Big Picture Seminar Canberra: Richard Stallman

      Richard Stallman will speak about the Free Software Movement, which campaigns for freedom so that computer users can cooperate to control their own computing activities. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, often erroneously referred to as Linux, specifically to establish these freedoms.

    • Open Source Technologies: Highlights from Linuxcon 2010

      This week in Boston, the Linux Foundation held the second annual Linuxcon, a gathering of the developers, administrators, users and executives that call Linux home. All told, the conference touched on nearly every corner of computing—an indication of how broadly Linux has spread. Check out these highlights from the conference.

    • Free and open source software camp for students at IIT Guwahati

      A three-day camp on free and open source software called “FOSSilize” is going to be held at IIT Guwahati campus on September 3-5. The goal of the event is to increase the awareness, integration and adoption of free and open source software (FOSS) tools among the students. The emphasis is on building the capacity of the students to use FOSS. The event will bring together students from both the technical and non-technical colleges in the region. The aim is to use this event – and subsequent activities – as an opportunity to broaden expertise, forge new ideas and connections, and encourage the creative use of FOSS within the different projects and initiatives in the region.

  • SaaS

    • The Nexus Between Open Source and the Cloud
    • Value of cloud computing

      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, will host briefing sessions in New Zealand based on cutting through market hype to reveal the true value of cloud computing for businesses.

      The free, half day business seminars are sponsored by IBM and will address why cloud computing is one of the most significant shifts in information technology to occur in decades, as well as why it offers local organisations a very real opportunity to thrive in the current economic climate. The sessions will also unveil how open source tools and services can unlock the potential for cloud computing, as well as covering:

  • Databases

    • Ingres CEO unfazed by Oracle’s MySQL play

      When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems it also bought MySQL AB, the company behind the open source MySQL database, which Ingres CEO, Roger Burkhardt, says was hardly intentional and resulted in the company staving off a “future competitor”.

      “MySQL is not a competitor to an enterprise-class database,” Burkhardt said. “It’s a lightweight Web-oriented, easy to develop for offering.”

  • Oracle

    • The Future of OpenSolaris

      The clouds of uncertainty over OpenSolaris under Oracle have parted, but while what we see behind them was perhaps expected, it is certainly still disappointing. I’ve included the original sources below, but here are the key sentences (emphasis added) from the internal Oracle memo regarding OpenSolaris:

      * We will distribute updates to approved CDDL or other open source-licensed code following full releases of our enterprise Solaris operating system. In this manner, new technology innovations will show up in our releases before anywhere else. We will no longer distribute source code for the entirety of the Solaris operating system in real-time while it is developed, on a nightly basis.

    • Friday the 13th, Part II: Oracle Officially Ends OpenSolaris

      Well, Oracle seems determined to make this a memorable Friday the 13th. Just as the open source community reels from the impact of an Oracle lawsuit against Google for alleged Java patent infringements, it has now been revealed that Oracle has internally killed OpenSolaris.

      In an apparent internal memo addressed to Oracle Solaris engineers, Oracle outlined plans to effectively end the OpenSolaris project.

    • Oracle vs. Google over Java in Android is only the start.

      I don’t think Oracle suing Google over the use of Java in Android has much to do with Android at all. I think it has everything to do with Oracle monetizing Java anyway it can. That spells big trouble for any company or developer who uses Java but hasn’t obeyed the letter of Java’s intellectual property laws. I’m looking at you, Red Hat/JBoss; Apache/Jakarta; and members of the JCP (Java Community Process). Get ready. Legal trouble is coming your way.

      I am not a lawyer, but I don’t think you need to be one to figure out why Oracle is doing this. Java and all its associated technologies are very valuable. Sun was never able to squeeze much money out of Java’s IP (intellectual property). Sun preferred to make its money by building programs around Java.

    • Java Update: Download for Windows, Linux and Apple
    • Android Lawsuit Is Really Just Oracle Flirting With Google

      When Google joined the Open Invention Network and pledged to protect Linux in August 2007, six months after Oracle had done the same, Jerry Rosenthal, then-CEO of Open Invention, told CMP TechWeb that no patent holder has ever sued Linux developers or a Linux distributor and that none likely ever will.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • State of Open Source Software in Finnish Schools: some good news, something crucial still missing

      To be honest, for a couple of years now I have been pretty skeptical about the future of Free and Open Source software in Finnish schools and education sector in general.

      In Finland we have a lot of open source expertise and know-how. We have developers. I also assume that majority of the (liberally) higher educated people in Finland, at least know what is “Open Source” and “Linux”. This should be a great foundation to get open source software to all public schools (and public institutions).

      [...]

      Another good news is that there are several projects raising awareness on Free and Open Source software for schools. There are blogs and newsletters, webinars and get-together events. The outreaching and educational activities seems to be today professionally carried out and well organized. Still, I would claim that the information provided on the topic is far too technical and as such irrelevant for most of the decisions makers. The people making decisions on the educational technology are not really interested in the LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project). They want solutions. It looks that we are still missing credible providers of solutions.

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

    • Data-visualization duo turns down Knight funding over open source

      The reason: Viegas and Wattenberg didn’t like the open-source component of the News Challenge grant agreement, which requires that winners share all work done under the grant under a copyleft license that maximizes openness. “The licensing requirements weren’t right for us, or the project, really,” Viegas explained. (Their pitch was for a data visualization tool for news organizations; they declined to go into more detail than that.)

      [...]

      Winners can accept a grant and bind themselves to the GNU General Public License, which makes the code reusable or alterable by anyone else. Alternately, for-profits can choose to structure the winnings as a zero-percent interest loan that must be repaid. A version of the project would still need to be released under the GPL.

    • Virgin America CIO Lauds Open Source Savings

      Virgin America is one of the U.S’s newest airlines and its IT infrastructure is mostly open source. That’s the message coming from Ravi Simhambhatla, VA’s CIO who delivered a keynote at LinuxCon titled “Selling the Value of Open Source When Cost is Not the Driver.”

    • Open source software a frequent flier on Virgin America

      While Ravi Simhambhatla told LinuxCon attendees that his IT staff has saved millions of dollars by going with FOSS, he emphasized it’s the fact that the software works so well that has made it a relatively easy sell to higher ups. He touted the company’s open source systems having 100% uptime with just one open source software systems admin.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Academic Navel Gazing Continues

      The researchers found that the sensor messages can be sniffed and decoded from up to 40 meters (120 feet) from a passing vehicle with a basic low-noise amplifier and the openly available GNU radio platform (a GNU radio is comprised of hardware and software and can be used for intercepting radio signals).

  • Project Releases

    • [Caml 3.12.0 Out]

      The most recent version of Objective Caml is 3.12.0. It was released on 2010-08-02.

    • WeeChat 0.3.3

      WeeChat 0.3.3 was released on 2010-08-07: many new features and bugs fixed (see ChangeLog for detail).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mapping Georgia From Scratch

      The map from Open Maps, which will be completed by the end of this month, will be an open-source map — meaning anyone can contribute to it, edit it and tweak it to their needs: It’s Wikipedia-meets-cartography, developing world-style.

    • GardenBot: An Automated, Open-Source Garden Monitoring System

      Some commenters may have scoffed when Mike posted about high-tech green farming using soil sensors, but with over-taxed aquifers causing reduced yields worldwide, more intelligent monitoring and usage of water resources should be a top priority. But soil monitoring isn’t just for professionals anymore. In fact, one hobbyist is working on an open-source garden monitoring system that might, if there is enough demand, allow for fully automated garden watering based on precise soil conditions. I, for one, am interested.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Navigating the murky waters of the new media: Five lessons from PepsiGate

    In the wake of the mass exodus at ScienceBlogs, the old network lives on. A sizable chunk of core members has left, while other popular bloggers remain. Many former contributors banded together to form a new, independent science blog network—with an ethics code to their liking—at Scientopia. And PepsiCo still has its Food Frontiers blog in a dusty corner of the Web, where the requisite PR and legal teams carefully look over the R&D scientists’ posts.

  • Can hyperlinks be libellous, or are they just mere footnotes?

    Defamation law can often be found dawdling behind technology, but a barely noticed judgement on hyperlinking may have moved things on a step or two.

    A question that remains to be resolved is whether a link to a web page that contains defamatory statements about someone is actionable. The high court’s decision in the recent Spectator case looks at the hyperlinking question from another angle. Can the web pages a publisher links to inform the meaning of an article?

  • Judge dismisses Churchill High School’s “choir gate”

    An incident known as “choir gate” is back in the news today. Churchill County Judge William Rogers has ruled against music teacher Kathleen Archey; saying that an article written about her by a high school student truthfully communicated information to the public, and that nothing written by the student was false, defamatory or negligent.

  • Science

    • NASA team launches huge study into what causes hurricanes

      What makes a tropical depression turn into a hurricane?

      It’s a question that has puzzled hurricane chasers and scientists alike for years.

      But now Ed Zipser, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Utah, is hoping that research he and a team of scientists are doing this month will unlock the key to this mystery.

      The quest to understand the inner workings of tropical storms or depressions and figure out what turns them into full-blown hurricanes is like the quest for the “holy grail” for atmospheric scientists, Zipser said.

  • Health

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • J.C. Penney cuts outlook on consumer weakness

      J.C. Penney Co. cut its profit outlook for the rest of the year, a sign of jitters that Americans, still stinging from the recession and worried about jobs, aren’t going to spend more any time soon.

    • German Economy Grows at a Fast Pace

      Germany’s economy surged ahead in the second quarter, growing 2.2 percent — the fastest pace for at least two decades and beating market forecasts — as a global recovery fed demand for its exports.

      The first-quarter growth figure for Europe’s biggest economy also was revised upward Friday to 0.5 percent — more than double the initial reading of 0.2 percent.

      ”The recovery of the German economy, which lost momentum at the turn of 2009/2010, is really back on track,” the Federal Statistical Office said as it released the preliminary second-quarter figures.

    • Paralysis at the Fed

      Ten years ago, one of America’s leading economists delivered a stinging critique of the Bank of Japan, Japan’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve, titled “Japanese Monetary Policy: A Case of Self-Induced Paralysis?” With only a few changes in wording, the critique applies to the Fed today.

    • Record-low mortgage rates make refinancing (or re-refinancing) look tempting

      This week rates fell to levels that many people in the mortgage business thought they would never see. Freddie Mac reported on Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 4.44 percent, with 0.7 of a point in prepaid interest. [One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.] Loans fixed for 15 years also hit a record low, 3.92 percent, with 0.6 of a point, on average.

    • Wonkbook: Worst jobless claims since Feb; Warren profile; Obama signs border bill

      Jobless claims are up yet again this week. Worst week since February, in fact. Obama is signing a $600 million border enforcement bill today (can you guess how many senators it took to pass it?); broadband deployment is slowing; Daniel Indiviglio explains Treasury’s $3 billion program to help unemployed homeowners; and Brady Dennis profiles Elizabeth Warren. Oh, and some Arcade Fire for you.

    • Elizabeth Warren, likely to head new consumer agency, provokes strong feelings

      Somewhere along the line, Elizabeth Warren became a symbol.

      She’s either the plain-spoken, supremely smart crusader for middle-class families that her supporters adore, or she’s the power-hungry headline seeker her critics loathe, a fiery zealot disguised in professorial glasses and pastel cardigans.

    • Obama’s housing reform panel angers affordable-housing advocates

      The criticism by affordable-housing advocates was notable because the Obama administration has so far paid much more attention to their concerns than previous administrations have. Advocates, for instance, had credited the administration with listening to community groups that argued that the government must do more to embrace rental housing for those who cannot afford to buy a home.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Stallman slams filter as ‘human rights attack’

      Labor’s controversial mandatory internet filter project is an attack on human rights, and Australians should beware of the project and other tyrannical government policies, free software luminary Richard Stallman has said in an interview ahead of a visit to Australia in October.

      Stallman is best known for his creation during the early 1980′s of the GNU Project, which combined with Linus Torvalds’ kernel programming efforts in the early 1990′s to form what we today refer to as the GNU/Linux operating system.

      Stallman also founded the associated Free Software Foundation in the mid-1980′s and is the original author of a bunch of popular software projects — such as the Emacs text editor (although it does far more than that) and the GNU Compiler Collection.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • An open letter to my longtime friend Google

      You keep talking about turning this great place into an “open Internet.” But it already is an open Internet. One that really must stay that way. Net neutrality isn’t important because I don’t want to pay extra for Hulu, premium cable channel style. (Which I don’t.) No–it’s important because openness of the Internet is absolutely, fundamentally critical to the future of collaborative innovation. And I don’t mean this “public Internet” you keep mentioning. I mean just plain Internet. It’s all public. Open to all of our friends–even the ones we don’t really like.

    • Net Neutrality Protest planned tomorrow at Google HQ

      Despite a recent press event and a long blog post aimed at explaining that Google is still pro Net-Neutrality, Google did not convince. A number of folks aren’t buying it and believe that Google is turning its back on net neutrality and “not neutrality” has become the word play du jour. Those who are angry towards Google’s joint proposal with Verizon point out that Google basically is “OK” with the idea that wireless network won’t have to abide by the same standards of net neutrality than the landlines.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity

        In short, artists are using the new means of production and distribution to control the creation, marketing, and sale of their work. It’s the inevitable outcome of what I described last January at Critical Mass regarding the future of books — the loss by the publishing, recording, and entertainment industries of control over the means of production and distribution of their products. As I wrote then, “[t]he entire publishing industry as we’ve known it is a walking corpse. You can almost imagine it as a zombie — composed of parts of Sarah Palin, Oprah, Dan Brown, and Tiger Woods — lumbering down Manhattan’s avenues.”

      • Why Waiting Until A New Business Model Is Proven Doesn’t Work

        This is, of course, the typical Innovator’s Dilemma, but it helps explain why so few companies are able to survive the innovator’s dilemma. Even if they know about it, they think they can wait. They think that they shouldn’t invest heavily in those new technologies and new markets until there’s a clear path to profitability, or a clear plan for how it “replaces” what’s already there. The problem is that by the time they have the answers to those questions, it’s too late.

      • KDDI Promotes Brand New Products And Collects User-Generated Parody Songs

        Japan’s second largest mobile operator KDDI’s au introduced several new lineups for their design-oriented feature phone series last month, and they have been running a promotion campaign collecting user-generated parody songs via Twitter.

Clip of the Day

WebGL in Firefox 4 and on Android


08.13.10

Links 13/8/2010: Linux Winning, Enemy Territory and Return To Castle Wolfenstein Become Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 2:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning

    Linux is now in the mainstream of enterprise adoption, according to analysts presenting new research here at the LinuxCon conference.

  • Did Open Source Need Linux To Hit the Mainstream?

    Open source has officially “crossed the chasm from early adoption to mainstream adoption,” pronounced Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research, at this week’s LinuxCon conference. According to ZDNet’s Paula Rooney, Hammond based his pronouncement on analysis of several studies, most of which have to do with Linux. Is Linux really the best barometer for this kind of announcement, though? Didn’t open source hit the mainstream without it?

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Updated XGI Open-Source Graphics Driver Released

        Even the nearly-defunct XGI Technology Inc is able to produce open-source graphics driver code for Linux while VIA continues on with their Linux mess, even with XGI developers working from Windows. In preparations for the X.Org 7.6 Katamari and this month’s release of X Server 1.9, a new release of the XGI DDX driver has been made available.

      • PhysX SDK Support Comes Back To Linux

        Back in 2006 a start-up company known as AGEIA launched the PhysX PPU, the first Physics Processing Unit (PPU) for offloading physics calculations in games and applications that utilize the PhysX API onto this discrete processor for boosting overall system performance.

      • AMD Releases New Stream SDK For Linux With OpenCL 1.1

        AMD has released a new ATI Stream SDK this morning and, among other improvements, it features OpenCL 1.1 support. The OpenCL 1.1 specification was released by the Khronos Group back in June as the first major update to the Open Computing Language since it’s original draft in 2008.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Australian Road Tour 2010 unlocks the value of cloud computing

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, will host a series of briefing sessions across Australia based on cutting through market hype to reveal the true value of cloud computing for businesses.

        The free, half-day business seminars sponsored by IBM will address why cloud computing is one of the most significant shifts in information technology to occur in decades, as well as why it offers local organisations a very real opportunity to thrive in the current economic climate. The sessions will also unveil how open source tools and services can unlock the potential for cloud computing, as well as covering:

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Two Reasons Rwandan Children Don’t Take XO Laptops Home

        Both of these reasons can be traced back to local culture. Where teachers and administrators are personally responsible for school items, they’ll be very reluctant to have children take computers home. And where children are essential workers in family life, there is little time to “goof off” with an XO.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source’s ardent admirers take but don’t give

    Interestingly, these two developers sparred over this very issue at LinuxCon in Boston, Massachusetts, this past week, as The Reg reported. Google has come under fire for allegedly forking the Linux kernel with its Android project, for failing to contribute Android changes to the mainline Linux code thereby setting up itself, and the wider Linux community, for prolonged inefficiencies and incompatibilities between the two.

  • Project Harmony Takes Aim at Open Source Contribution Agreements

    Open source licenses help to define the terms and conditions of software use and redistribution. But what are the terms and condition under which developers actually contribute code? That’s the realm of software contribution agreements.

    A new effort spearheaded by Amanda Brock, general counsel at Canonical, the lead sponsor of Ubuntu Linux, is trying to help solve the problem of contribution agreements. The effort is called Project Harmony, and it’s a multi-stakeholder project that aims to help provide some clarity and uniformity to software contribution agreements.

  • VMware: Using Alfresco to Attack Microsoft SharePoint?

    Not by coincidence, open source community members have been creating integrations between Alfresco and Zimbra. As a result, the Alfresco-Zimbra combination could give VMware a one-two punch against Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, The VAR Guy believes.

  • Open Source Business Intelligence Software Ranked by Analysts
  • Gluster Brings Open Source to Unstructured Data

    Gluster is an open source startup that most people in storage have never heard of. Yet its value proposition could spell trouble for the big boys and potentially send the prices of proprietary hardware crashing down.

  • Open source already used in 80% of corporates

    A great success story for Linux is the London Stock Exchange, which is moving its trading platform onto it. The company bought an entire software firm that developed the Linux based system to make sure it had the developlment resources.

  • Databases

    • Sun, IBM and MySQL Storage Engine Chicanery

      A while back I was doing some research for a client and came across an apparent GPL slight of hand engineered by Sun and IBM. Time constraints and competing priorities kept me from writing about this until now, and Oracle’s acquisition of Sun has taken Sun off of the hot seat (see in particular paragraph 2, Non Assertion), but it’s still a pretty juicy story. What’s more, I think it’s healthy to expose vendor behaviors that cut against the spirit of open source, creating unfair advantages for a privileged few at the expense of everyone else.

      If you’re not familiar with the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is at the heart of this article, you can get a quick and relevant primer here.

  • Business

    • StatusNet’s Evan Prodromou on Facebook, Twitter & more

      LU&D: How do we get users to care about who owns their data?

      EP: I think that’s a really difficult sell. It’s boring and pedantic. Compared against the fun that social networking services provide, talking about privacy issues is really a downer. Who wants to worry about obscure marketing issues when there are friends-of-a-friend to send flirty private messages to?

      It’s much more likely that change comes from another direction. There are entities that simply cannot accept turning over their data and online presence to a third party: governments, political parties, corporations. As these organisations become more engaged with social networking, and want to get more engaged with each other, they’ll insist on a federated approach that gives them full control of their data and presence.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Organic Source Movement?

        It is when an “open core” company claims it is an “open source company” that some become vexed. They feel that an open source company shouldn’t be owning and closing their code, even if they have a large part of it under an open source licence. The “open core” vendors respond by saying they are catering to customer demand for their closed extensions and that this is their route for monetising the open source code. There are numerous points of view on the issues and an active debate.

  • Project Releases

    • cURL 7.21.1 – New version released!

      Having spent a considerable time within the command line environment, I consider myself reasonably competent with completing the tasks I require with script. Over the years of these small projects, two programs stick out that are essential to many of my life simplifying BASH scripts. The first one would be dialog, which can spruce up even the most mundane script tasks, the other being cURL.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s

      In 2003, a group of scientists and executives from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the drug and medical-imaging industries, universities and nonprofit groups joined in a project that experts say had no precedent: a collaborative effort to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain.

      [...]

      Companies as well as academic researchers are using the data. There have been more than 3,200 downloads of the entire massive data set and almost a million downloads of the data sets containing images from brain scans.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Wheelchair Design Aids Disabled in Developing Nations

        The wheelchairs sport design features unique to the needs of riders who must regularly get around on rough terrain. The rear wheels are made of bicycle tires that can easily be repaired or replaced, and the front wheels are specifically designed to not sink into sand, soil, or loose pavement. WWI also makes sure riders are well-equipped to service their own wheelchairs — each one ships with a tire repair kit, pump, and detailed user manual.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Probe of Bribery at H-P Heats Up

    The U.S. Department of Justice has asked Hewlett-Packard Co. to provide a trove of internal records as part of an international investigation into allegations that H-P executives paid bribes in Russia, according to people familiar with the investigations.

    German prosecutors, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal in April, are looking into the possibility that H-P executives paid about €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million contract under which the U.S. company sold computer gear, through a German subsidiary, to the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation. The German probe has been joined by U.S. and Russian authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Flattr Opens Beta of Its Micropayment Platform

    Flatter was founded by Peter Sunde, the former spokesman for Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site that the entertainment industry is trying to shut down, and one of four people being prosecuted in Sweden for their involvement with the site.

  • Journalism Warning Labels

    It seems a bit strange to me that the media carefully warn about and label any content that involves sex, violence or strong language — but there’s no similar labelling system for, say, sloppy journalism and other questionable content.

  • Health

    • CMD Calls For Federal Investigation of Health Insurers

      Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog, said, “Insurance companies appear to be making sure that when new federal rules for spending on health care kick in next year, they can keep their administrative bloat and profits intact.” Wendell Potter, who co-signed the letter, said that red flags went up when Cigna showed a startling drop of 6.4% in its medical spending radio (also called a Medical Loss Ratio, or MLR) to 78.8%, a cut that appears unprecedented for a large insurer. You can read the entire letter to Kathleen Sebelius here (pdf).

    • Executives at health insurance giants cash in as firms plan fee hikes

      The top executives at the nation’s five largest for-profit health insurance companies pulled in nearly $200 million in compensation last year — while their businesses prepared to hit ratepayers with double-digit premium increases, according to a new analysis conducted by healthcare activists.

      The leaders of Cigna Corp., Humana Inc., UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Inc. each in effect received raises in 2009, the report concluded, based on an analysis of company reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.

  • Security/Aggression

    • DNA fingerprinting techniques ‘can sometimes give the wrong results’

      DNA evidence is not an infallible tool for criminal investigations, experts have warned.

      Interpretation of samples can be highly subjective and prone to error, a study has found.

    • Volunteers needed to man CCTV in Malmesbury

      Volunteers are needed to man a CCTV project in Malmesbury.

      The town council and Malmesbury & Villages Community Partnership (M&VCAP) are working on the project aimed at improving safety in the town.

    • Scanners at airports are manned by mature, experienced, responsible, highly trained professionals, remember!?

      Here’s a further example. A member of staff responsible for carrying out screening at Heathrow Terminal 5 has been accused of stealing from a passenger during the screening process.

    • Video: The moment Medway’s CCTV car is caught on camera

      He is heard saying: “Do not take my photograph, you haven’t got my permission to take my photograph.”

      Mr Khan responds: “But this is public.”

      The operator replies: “No, it’s not, cause you are not allowed to take my photograph like I’m not allowed to take yours. Why are you doing this, you’re harassing me.”

      He then says he is going to phone the police and can be seen dialling a number before Mr Khan wanders off.

    • Health warnings on mobile phones..?

      What is it this time, you ask? San Francisco has become the first city in the US to mandate the posting of radiation emission information beside every single phone that is for sale in every single mobile phone shop in San Francisco. Obviously, the mobile phone lobby is fuming over this mandate, but the local government “health experts” are thrilled, even though mobile phone radiation emission research has proved inconclusive over the years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • T-Boone Pickens and the Truth about All that Drilling

      The home page of T. Boone Pickens’ “Pickens Plan” is emblematic of the oil industry’s aggressive push to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale basin. The page greets visitors with the blaring headline, “WE MUST BREAK AMERICA’S ADDICTION TO FOREIGN OIL. The Pickens Plan will do it, but we need your help.”

    • Peak oil is the villain governments need

      Could peak oil lever politicians out from between the rock of the electorate and the hard place that is climate change mitigation? As Daniel Gros wrote in the Guardian: “the climate-change bill, for which President Barack Obama had pushed so hard, will not even be presented to the US Senate, because it stands no chance of passage”. His analysis ends with a fatalistic statement: “Determined action at the global level will become possible only when climate change is no longer some scientific prediction, but a reality that people feel … A world incapable of preventing climate change will have to live with it.”

    • Jellyfish sting hundreds on Costa Blanca beaches

      A vast flotilla of small, almost undetectable jellyfish have stung hundreds of people on Spanish beaches this week – an event swimmer’s nightmare biologists say will become increasingly common due to climate change and overfishing.

  • Finance

    • For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices

      Enrollment in for-profit colleges has grown from about 365,000 students to almost 1.8 million in the last several years. These colleges offer degrees and certifications in programs ranging from business administration to cosmetology. In 2009, students at for-profit colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and more than $20 billion in federal loans provided by the Department of Education (Education). GAO was asked to 1) conduct undercover testing to determine if for-profit colleges’ representatives engaged in fraudulent, deceptive, or otherwise questionable marketing practices, and 2) compare the tuitions of the for-profit colleges tested with those of other colleges in the same geographic region. To conduct this investigation, GAO investigators posing as prospective students applied for admissions at 15 for-profit colleges in 6 states and Washington, D.C.. The colleges were selected based on several factors, including those that the Department of Education reported received 89 percent or more of their revenue from federal student aid. GAO also entered information on four fictitious prospective students into education search Web sites to determine what type of follow-up contact resulted from an inquiry. GAO compared tuition for the 15 for-profit colleges tested with tuition for the same programs at other colleges located in the same geographic areas. Results of the undercover tests and tuition comparisons cannot be projected to all for-profit colleges.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Progressives Up In Arms Over Brand Obama’s Insult

      A year and a half after his November 4, 2008 election, the progressive left is, rightfully, up in arms over the lack of integrity President Barack Obama has shown across the gamut of burning contemporary political issues. These include, but are not limited to issues such as war, health care, secrecy, warrantless wiretapping, and environmental issues, among many others.

      A healthy and flourishing representative democracy depends on an engaged citizenry standing up and demanding that their representatives represent them. President Obama said so himself at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas in his desperate plea to show progressive activists that he is, indeed “one of them.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Telecom Complaints Commissioner Remains a Relative Unknown

      Notwithstanding the public interest, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services toils in relative anonymity. Established in 2007, the CCTS came as part of a deregulation bargain initiated by then-Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, who deregulated many local telephone markets and established an industry-funded telecom complaints commissioner.

    • India threatens to suspend Blackberry by 31 August

      India has given Blackberry phone maker RIM a deadline of 31 August to give the government access to all of its services or face being shut down.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • T-Mobile Sued For Offering Limited ‘Unlimited’ Service

      Parts of the suit are melodramatic for effect, lawyers arguing that the surprise limit makes smartphones “essentially useless for anything other than making or receiving phone calls and text messages.” T-Mobile’s current 10 GB cap is rather generous, and last we checked, unlike some other carriers, T-Mobile only throttles users who cross it — they don’t impose unreasonable overages or boot users from the network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How to extract money for using copyrighted performances

        The article also fails to note that there has been criticism of how the royalty administering organizations distribute the money and account for what they do, as is clear from the Wikipedia article on ASCAP link here. Instead it is an account of how one of BMI’s enforcer’s is really very nice and works hard to deal pleasantly but firmly with the poor bar owners and other small businesspeople that use music to attract customers.

      • The copyright cops

        Sound confusing? That’s because it is. Copyright law has evolved largely as a response by governments to the demands of powerful media and content industries. As new forms of recorded media have been invented, legislators have created new spheres of copyright to fence off that intellectual property from perceived threats to the earnings of artists and corporations.

Clip of the Day

Android 3.0 – Gingerbread – Web API’s


Links 13/8/2010: Linux 2.6.36 Sighted, Fedora 14 Delayed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 32 bit vs 64 bit Linux – Which to Choose?

    For the average desktop user the applications issue, especially with flash – something most of us use everyday, is the driving factor to use a 32 bit version of your Linux distro of choice. If you are using your system as more of a work station (compiling and decoding) then maybe the 64 bit version is a better selection for your needs.

  • Linux is Political!

    People have a hard time understanding that there is no single company behind Linux. They don’t understand that Linux cannot be monopolized like Windows or Mac OS because no single entity owns the Linux source code. When these people realize that there is much more to Linux than its technical strengths and weaknesses, then they really understand its potential to change the software industry.

  • Desktop

    • Confessions of a Windows 7 to Ubuntu switcher

      The other night, I got quite the shock. A good friend, who is a Windows enthusiast and IT administrator/consultant, informed me that he had dumped Windows 7 for Ubuntu.

    • What Tweaks Could Make Linux Even Better?

      Maybe that’s why it’s been so hard to wrap our brains around the topic of a recent poll on TuxRadar entitled, “What would you change about Linux?”

      At first, Linux Girl’s mind drew a huge blank. Then she read on.

      “If you had the resources, what single thing would you change?” the daring minds behind the site asked. “Would you merge KDE and Gnome? Would you introduce a new package manager? (eek!) Would you find all mentions of ‘Linux’ and replace it with GNU/Linux?”

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel.org shares some cute e-mails

      “I’ve been using linux for years (since Red Hat 4, i think). But I just thought – after all this time – why is the “kernel” called that? A ”kernel” is just a little, potentially not even viable, grain of vegetative material. Why not call it the “Colonel?” A Colonel is almost a flag officer, with semi-executive capabilities, etc. – altogether cooler that a mere “kernel,” which mostly connotes an unpopped grain of corn. Huh?”

      No, it doesn’t look like Hawley made it up. He was kind enough to shield the writer’s name.

      I’d love for Linus Torvalds to weigh in on that one — as well as this recent blanket e-mail granting Linux the coveted Famous Software Award — one that will be treasured for years.

    • Linux kernel report shows continued innovation. 2.6.36 coming soon

      Corbet said that Linux kernel development is maintaining a fast cadence with about 80 days between Linux releases.

    • Linux Security, Then and Now

      Linux is inherently not a secure operating system. The reason it’s not secure is because Linux was based on the architectural design of UNIX, and the creators of UNIX didn’t care about security – it was 1969 after all.

      “The first fact to face is that UNIX was not developed with security, in any realistic sense, in mind; this fact alone guarantees a vast number of holes,” Dennis Ritchie wrote in his paper, “On the Security of UNIX” in 1979.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • At Work with Linux: Linux Mint 9 Gnome and KDE

      For general use I consider Mint 9 Gnome to be the better distribution, especially for getting inside and tinkering about. It’s also better to just stick with the Gnome desktop throughout, even if the Mint 9 Gnome desktop is using the slab-style mintMenu. At least if folks get annoyed with the pretty Mint Gnome menu, they can install the more conventional Gnome menu bar.

      I feel that the Mint 9 Gnome desktop is snappier than Mint 9 KDE in operation. This is purely subjective, and it may be due to the fact that the VirtualBox additions in Mint 9 KDE are not aligned with the latest version of VirtualBox.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – 4 Linux Mint 9?

        This weekend I will be downloading and installing my next KDE4 candidate, which one will it be? Well kids, YOU decide!

      • Two cool KDE Plasmoids

        It’s time to head off to that wonderful land of KDE where the desktop only gets better and better with each release. In fact, a new release should be out now – KDE 4.5 with 1,723 new features and 16.022 bug fixes. I don’t believe the packages have hit the repositories just yet, but they will soon. And when they do, you should make sure you download and install very quickly.

        [...]

        The KDE desktop keeps getting better, and so does its Plasmoids. The two you have been shown here are only a tiny portion of an ever-expanding set of tools available for the KDE desktop.

      • KDE Reaches New Audiences in North America

        KDE software has traditionally been strongest in Europe and South America. With the growth of events such as Camp KDE and many key contributors calling North America home, KDE is increasing its presence in this region.

      • How Much Faster Is Konqueror With WebKit?

        So, there you have it you cannot even compare Konqueror (KHTML) with Konqueror (WebKit). The one with WebKit is way faster. Not only is it faster than KHTML, it is also much faster than Firefox 4.0 Beta 2.

        Of course, there is much more to a browser that the speed of its JavaScript engine. We are not saying Konqueror is a better browser than Firefox; we are only saying it is faster. If you check out the results we got in our previous tests, Konqueror (WebKit) is however not nearly as fast as Opera, Google Chrome and Chromium.

      • Plasma: now comes in tablets

        In Plasma we always tried to avoid this, by having everything as a plugin, so it will be necessary to replace maybe the shell itself and just the components that really have to be changed.

        With Qt 4.7 a new framework ha been introduced: the declarative UI, that permits to do quite fancy stuff in the QML language in a very short time.

      • Stripes wallpaper

        If you haven’t noticed, KDE SC 4.5 comes with a new wallpaper named Stripes. It has replaced the old default_blue that has been our friend since 3.x days (and maybe even earlier, I don’t know).

      • Distribution branding and Stripes

        So, without a further ado, the preview version of a Debian-specific version of the Stripes wallpaper…

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots

      • Backtrack 4 R1 Screenshots

        For those of you that have yet to discover it, Backtrack is a popular Linux security distribution focused on providing a powerful selection of penetration testing tools. It runs mostly as a Live DVD or USB but is suitable for installation. Once in use, this distribution has excellent hardware detection and a low memory footprint, running well on older hardware too. Backtrack brings users over 300 tools to help with various security-related tasks like hacking wireless, exploiting servers, learning about security and much more.

      • Salix OS 13.1.1 Screenshots

        Today users were greeted by the Salix OS 13.1.1 release. Salix OS is based on Slackware and includes Xfce as its desktop environment. This latest release of Salix OS includes several enhancements over its previous release including Lilosetup, a graphical tool for settings up the Lilo bootloader, a few graphical system administration tools have been added, and more. Find a full list of changes in the official release announcement. You can download Salix OS 13.1.1 in 32 or 64 bit versions or buy Salix OS in our cart on CD. Here are some screenshots of Salix OS 13.1.1.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Well, Fedora 14 Will Not Ship On Time

          Jared Smith, the new Fedora Project Leader, announced last night that the decision was made by the Fedora engineering, development, and QA teams that a delay was in order for this release that is codenamed Laughlin. This decision was made as the Fedora 14 Alpha release was not ready and they felt an extra week was needed to get this first test release in order. With the alpha release slipping, the entire release schedule has been pushed back by one week time.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 on Track for December Release

        After several delays and many months behind schedule, Debian 6.0 appears to be one step closer to release. As of August 6, the testing branch is now frozen except for fixes and translation updates. This puts Final on track to possibly be released by the end of the year.

        Neil McGovern, Debian Release Team manager, wrote in from DebCon10 in New York to announce this milestone for Debian 6.0. Freeze had been delayed until Python 2.6 migration and updating Glibc was completed. Now only critical bug fixes, documentation changes, and translation updates will be accepted into the Testing branch as a general rule. This will give developers the opportunity to polish 6.0 for final release. The last two major versions have seen a four month stabilization period before final release, allowing estimates that 6.0 will arrive sometime in December.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Feature Freeze in place for Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

          The Feature Freeze is now in effect for Maverick. The focus from here until release is on fixing bugs and polishing.

          If you believe that a new package, a new upstream version of a package, or a new feature is needed for the release and will not introduce more problems than it fixes, please follow the Freeze Exception Process by filing bugs and subscribing ubuntu-release.

        • Why this Linux veteran runs Ubuntu

          I keep hearing Ubuntu described as merely a noob’s distro lately. However, Ubuntu has around 50% of the Linux desktop market share, give or take, but Linux as a whole has only gained a tenth of a percent or so since Ubuntu’s introduction. So either noobs adopted Ubuntu in such numbers that half of Linux veterans switched to Windows in protest, or there are quite a few veterans out there running Ubuntu, but who apparently don’t think it’s cool to admit it.

        • Talking about Ubuntu Studio with Scott Lavender, Project Lead for Ubuntu Studio

          SL: I would like to see Ubuntu Studio accomplish at least two things in the next 3 to 5 year; develop an active and supporting community around it and to identify and explore the possibility of cultivating additional user bases.

          KDE has a rich and vibrant community, something similar is what I would like Ubuntu Studio to develop. This would be characterised by significant and frequent user suggestions and feedback, user contributions of art and music to be include in the releases and web site, and user testing of ISO images and bug fixes. Already users routinely report bugs, for which I am grateful.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • LinuxCon Day 2: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: Linux has Arrived.

      As a society, we are all about numbers — How much, how far, how fast. In IT, it is all a numbers game. Teraflops to compare computing power, TPC results to compare databases, analyst numbers to compare penetration — We are all about the numbers. And as a wise man once said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. And after sitting through not one but two presentations about the numbers, I am more convinced than ever that numbers are best left to the accountants.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 a big deal

        The impending final release of Firefox 4 is something of a big deal for the Mozilla Foundation. Over the past year the popular open source browser has been facing some stiff competition from the likes of Google’s Chrome and, even, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

        Around a year ago Firefox hit a peak in its popularity with almost 25% market share, something that was achieved in the space of just a few years. Since then its popularity has remained largely static, even dropping slightly in the last few months.

      • Mozilla Looks Ahead to More Secure Firefox

        Additionally, the Firefox team continues to grapple with what Stamm described as “social-technical security” issues, those scams that rely on persuading a user to share personal information or take an action that navigates to a malicious site.

  • Government

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Critical plant bank in danger

      Plant scientists around the world are warning that hundreds of years of accumulated agricultural heritage are in danger of being plowed under after a Russian court ruled today (August 11) that the land occupied by a world-renowned plant bank on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg may be transferred to the Russian Housing Development Foundation, which plans to build houses on the site.

    • Greed vs. Survival: Which Prevails?

      The global environmental catastrophe that we all face is, of course, a typical tragedy of the (analogue) commons. Resources that are held in common like the atmosphere, or water, or fisheries are exploited for short-term gain by powerful players able to push to the front.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Verizon and AT&T Ban BitTorrent On Wireless Networks

      A recent Net Neutrality proposal from Google and Verizon has dominated the news this week, with opponents claiming that the deal would kill Net Neutrality on wireless (cellular) networks. What hasn’t been mentioned thus far, however, is that BitTorrent and other types of evil traffic have already been banned for years by Verizon, AT&T and others.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Failure Takes Down Creative Commons Videos

        An anti-piracy group has caused a storm of controversy by taking down movies it has no rights to. GVU successfully ordered video hosting site Vimeo to take down several Creative Commons videos created by a freelance journalist and an independent filmmaker. The anti-piracy tracking company hired by GVU claims that its technology failed.

Clip of the Day

Android vs iphone


Links 13/8/2010: Many New Linux Devices, Apertus Project

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Bedside PC features capacitive multi-touch

      Poindus announced a panel PC designed to be a bedside terminal for hospital patients. Ready to support Fedora Linux, the “VariCura” has a 15-inch capacitive screen with multi-touch, a 1.3 megapixel camera, a phone that supports either POTS or VoiP, plus an optional barcode scanner, MSR (magnetic stripe reader), and smart card reader, the company says.

  • Kernel Space

    • Google’s Android fork defended, debated, dissected … again

      The topic hit fever pitch again later in the day, when panelists from Google and Novell sparred a bit about the so called Android fork.

      Ted Ts’o, a Linux kernel maintainer who joined Google in January 2010, said both Novell and Red Hat ship patches that were rejected by the Linux kernel but no one describes their distributions as Linux forks.

      It’s nothing new,” he said. “Novell has a number of patches and SUSE ships with code somebody rejected but no one says Novell forked the Linux code. Red Hat ships SystemTap and no one says Red Hat forked the kernel.”

  • Applications

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny ARM9 module ramps up to 400MHz

      Bluewater Systems is shipping a $145 computer-on-module (COM) built around an ARM9 Atmel AT91SAM9G45 processor clocked at 400MHz. The Snapper 9G45 module measures only 2.7 by 1.0 inches, offers 128MB SDRAM, 1GB NAND flash, a wide variety of interfaces, and a Linux 2.6.33 BSP.

    • Plug Computer gets Amahi server and a developer camp all its own

      The Amahi Plug Edition is free software based on the Fedora-Linux-based open source Amahi Linux Home Server software for desktop computers. In May of last year, Amahi and Intel demonstrated an embedded version of the software called the Home Digital Assistant (HDA), which runs on devices running Intel Atom N270 processors.

    • COM Express modules ride the Atom bandwagon

      The second was last month’s release of the Linux-only COMX-P2020 and COMX-P4080, claimed to be the first COM Express modules based on Freescale’s PowerPC-based QorIQ processors.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Tactical handheld runs Android on Cortex-A8 SoC

          The device is one of the first tactical field handhelds we’ve seen that runs Android, although other Linux variants have been used in such devices (the TAG TC-100 Commander, for example) in a number of such devices over the years, as has Windows CE and Windows Mobile. In May of last year, SDG Systems shipped a version of its ruggedized, military-ready Trimble Nomad PDA that ran Android 1.5.

        • Android Big Winner as Smartphone Sales Increase 50 Percent
        • Android Overtakes Apples in World-Wide Market Share According to Gartner
        • HTC hits top 10, Android surges
        • Sprint announces second 4G Android phone

          Sprint announced that it will start selling the Samsung Epic 4G for $250 with rebate and contract on Aug. 31. The Samsung Epic 4G is one of several variations of Samsung’s Galaxy S line of Android 2.1 smartphones, and offers a 1GHz Samsung “Hummingbird” system-on-chip, four-inch Super AMOLED display, a 4G radio, and a QWERTY keyboard.

        • Nexus One respun as Android Developer Phone

          Several weeks after announcing the phase-out of its HTC-manufactured Nexus One phone for the consumer market, Google says that it has recast the phone as the official Android 2.2 Developer Phone. The Nexus One Developer Phone is being offered unlocked for $529, runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and offers a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen and five-megapixel camera.

        • Xperia X10 Android phone comes stateside

          AT&T announced that it will sell the Sony Ericsson Xperia 10 starting Aug. 15, giving the high-end Android smartphone its first U.S. debut. The Xperia X10 offers a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC), 8GB of internal flash, a four-inch display, a 8.1-megapixel camera, and other high-end features, but debuts with Android 1.6.

        • Motorola goes glam with Korea-targeted Android phone

          Motorola says it’s now shipping a smartphone running Android 2.1 for SK Telecom in Korea. The Moto Glam is equipped with a 3.7-inch, 854 x 480 pixel touchscreen, a five-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and 720p video recording capabilities, plus Wi-Fi, GPS, and an HDMI output, the company says.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How the open source community could save your life

    Karen Sandler is a lawyer at the Software Freedom Law Center. She’s also an activist, and–as almost all of us are at some time or another–a patient. More specifically, she discovered about a year ago that her heart is much larger than usual, a condition that may lead to sudden cardiac death. The recommended, life-critical treatment was a pacemaker/defibrillator.

    The next thing she wondered about this technology seemed simple: What runs it? She asked three companies involved whether she could see the source code. Each was surprised at the request and sent her to technical support. In every case, she eventually reached a block. The dreaded, “No. It’s proprietary.” She offered to sign an NDA to simply see the code that was supposed to keeping her alive. The companies questioned why she would be concerned. Of course they’re making software that won’t fail. Of course.

  • Forrester Analyst Says Open Source Has Won
  • Events

    • Highlights from Day 1 at LinuxCon 2010

      If LinuxCon 2009 was all about the desktop, then the underlying theme of LinuxCon 2010 is the desktop is dead, at least as we know it and the new desktop meme will be a mobile device. But, as pointed out by Rob Chandhok in his keynote, the mobile platform has a long way to go, both in terms of hardware standardization and software. The problem is there are simply too many choices.

      And while many will argue that choice is a good thing, unlike the desktop, where the core pieces such as CPU and memory are pretty standard, the mobile market, reduced to a couple of vendors and a couple of flavors, is still very much the wild, wild west, which makes developing support, even at the core OS level, difficult. The end result is a number of distributions that are also wildly separate from each other, and have led to debates in the Community about the very nature of what Linux on the mobile platform will look like. The upshot of all this is that while your next phone will most likely have a dual core processor in it, and more functional power than the computers that put men on the moon, it will also most likely be running Linux, and that Linux will have its papers in order from a licensing stand point, even if we are still arguing whether or not the mainline has been forked or not.

  • SaaS

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Apertus Project Building an Open Course Cinema Camera for Filmmakers

        There is already a project that’s trying to develop an open source digital camera, so it only makes sense someone would try to create a full-featured open source cinema camera for filmmakers. The Apertus project aims to crowdsource upgrades to the existing Elphel network camera and turn it into a free and open HD camera cinematographers can use to create their next movie.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Rethinking Peer Review As The World Peer Reviews Claimed Proof That P≠NP

      We recently discussed how incredibly broken the traditional scientific journal system is, in terms of how they tend to lock up access to information. However, that left out a much bigger concern: the peer review system they use doesn’t always work very well. There is, of course, the famous case of Hendrik Sch&oumln, who was the toast of the physics world, until it was discovered that his “breakthroughs” were frauds — even though they were peer reviewed. But that, of course, is an extreme case. Even outside of that, though, peer review has always been somewhat questionable, and many have warned in the past that it’s not particularly reliable or consistent in judging the quality of research.

    • Calgary microchip ‘talks’ to brain cells

      The neurochip is able to monitor the electrical and chemical dialogue between brain cells, and to track subtle changes in brain activity. Accessing those areas means researchers could test drugs to treat several neurological conditions accurately and quickly.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Cars hacked through wireless tire sensors
    • Police: Breach affecting credit card users at restaurant chain

      A security breach for credit and debit card purchases at a local restaurant chain is causing headaches for some Austinites, police say.

      A police spokesman said thieves have hacked into an accounting network between Tinos Greek Cafe and its New Jersey-based credit card clearinghouse, Heartland Payment Systems, triggering fraudulent charges for some customers of the locally owned restaurant chain in recent months.

  • Finance

    • Maxine Waters Seeks Speedy Ethics Review

      Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, frustrated that the start of her ethics trial has not even been scheduled, urged the House ethics committee on Wednesday to formally release a list of charges that have been filed against her and to accelerate any trial so that her case can be resolved before the November election.

      Ms. Waters, the ethics committee announced on Monday, has been charged with a still unannounced set of ethics violations, following a nine-month investigation into allegations that she had improper communications with executives from OneUnited Bank, a Massachusetts-based institution that her husband owned stock in and had once served on the board of directors, as the bank sought bailout funds from the federal government in late 2008.

    • LARRY’S CORNER: The Latest Folk Hero Cries Out -ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

      Many of us follow the behaviors of Goldman the company as well as the many Goldmanites that work there starting with their CEO, Lloyd Blankfein and working our way down the ladder. We seem to revel in the idea that they are a “vampire squid”. We love to hate them for the attitude that they are above us all including the government. We hate them for the money they make which they take from the economies of nations (the people) and we hate them for their justifications for doing so (doing God’s work).

      But hating them is simply not enough. We all need to get “mad as hell” and say we are not going to take it any more. We need to DEMAND of our elected politicians and our law enforcement system to stop giving us lip service and begin serving us justice.

    • Market Drop Signals Fears About Global Recovery

      Concerns about flagging global growth weighed heavily on Asian stocks Thursday, while European markets opened flat. Japan’s Nikkei index dropped more than 2 percent Thursday before recovering some of those losses, which came after steep declines Wednesday in American and European equities.

    • Jobs picture dims as unemployment claims rise

      The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months.

      It’s a sign that hiring remains weak and employers may be going back to cutting their staffs. Analysts say the increase suggests companies won’t be adding enough workers in August to lower the 9.5 percent unemployment rate.

    • Could “crowd-sourcing” help resource-starved SEC detect fraud?

      The SEC failed to catch Madoff largely because they are understaffed (a fact the SEC itself has admitted), under-funded, and simply lacked the resources to adequately investigate his activities. Undoubtedly, there were other smaller incidents of fraud that have gone unpunished because of this deficiency.

      To solve this egregious issue, NERA Economic Consulting proposed crowdsourcing, the concept behind Wikipedia’s existence. Proving financial fraud is essentially an exercise in finding numbers that do not match. Through crowdsouricng, regulators would make financial data publicly available to the masses, who would do the ‘grunt work’ of sifting through them to find discrepancies.

    • Debt After Financial Crisis

      In case you thought America’s current debt worries were unusual, here is a chart that might sober you up. It shows that financial crises are basically always followed by explosions in public debt…

    • U.S. Plans More Aid for Jobless Homeowners

      In an acknowledgment that the foreclosure crisis is far from over, the Obama administration on Wednesday pumped $3 billion into programs intended to stop the unemployed from losing their homes.

    • How to jump-start American manufacturing

      President Obama observed last week that the U.S. manufacturing sector has “been hit hard for as long as folks can remember.” In fact, the last time so few Americans worked in manufacturing was April 1941. Since the Great Recession began in December 2007, America has lost 16 percent of its manufacturing payroll jobs. While there has been a slight uptick in manufacturing jobs in the last seven months, only 11.7 million Americans work in this sector, down from 17.3 million 10 years ago. That’s barely 9 percent of total U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs. More Americans now work in the leisure and hospitality industry.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • A Review of Verizon and Google’s Net Neutrality Proposal

      Efforts to protect net neutrality that involve government regulation have always faced one fundamental obstacle: the substantial danger that the regulators will cause more harm than good for the Internet. The worst case scenario would be that, in allowing the FCC to regulate the Internet, we open the door for big business, Hollywood and the indecency police to exert even more influence on the Net than they do now.

      On Monday, Google and Verizon proposed a new legislative framework for net neutrality. Reaction to the proposal has been swift and, for the most part, highly critical. While we agree with many aspects of that criticism, we are interested in the framework’s attempt to grapple with the Trojan Horse problem. The proposed solution: a narrow grant of power to the FCC to enforce neutrality within carefully specified parameters. While this solution is not without its own substantial dangers, we think it deserves to be considered further if Congress decides to legislate.

      Unfortunately, the same document that proposed this intriguing idea also included some really terrible ideas. It carves out exemptions from neutrality requirements for so-called “unlawful” content, for wireless services, and for very vaguely-defined “additional online services.” The definition of “reasonable network management” is also problematically vague. As many, many, many have already pointed out, these exemptions threaten to completely undermine the stated goal of neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Firefox 4 Beta 3 – Multitouch demo


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