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08.03.10

Links 3/8/2010: KRunner Gets Dictionary Plugin, Android Deployments Up 886%

Posted in News Roundup at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Learning – Taking a Step Forward

    One of the biggest challenges we face when we get on site is in familiarizing the child with their new Linux system. Most kids have had Windows exposure from the first time they touch a computer. Getting them through the initial system shock of a new environment has had its challenges.

    In some cases, we’ve done a 30 day check-in to see how the child is doing with their new computer and have found the parent or guardian has put Windows on it. Maybe because the child wasn’t familiar with it…

    [...]

    I am soliciting researchers, ideas, coders, artists, volunteers, and bloggers to help us move this project forward. Sure, the current parameters are pretty loose but that’s why I have put this in front of you.

  • Guy spends $1500, makes system that can listen in on your mobile phone calls

    And of course he used Linux to save on the Windows license fee.

  • Migrating From XP to “7″

    A recent poll found 20% or respondents indicate they would switch to GNU/Linux as a result of the ending of support for SP2.

  • Server

    • VoIP Week in Review

      Vox Communications, which offers a feature-rich, low-cost, high-quality alternative to traditional phone services by providing VoIP and smartphone applications, has exceeded 20,000 VoIP lines on its award-winning Voice over Internet Linux-based server clusters.

  • Google

    • Google and the culture of participation

      With the WWW2010 conference in Raleigh the first week of May, a slew of open source rock stars were in our hometown. Chris DiBona, Public Sector Engineering Manager at Google, was able to visit the Red Hat office and talk with us during his trip. The focus of his talk was the enormous culture of participation that companies like Google and Red Hat—and technologies like the internet—attempt to embrace and extend, despite naysayers and proprietary business habits.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KRunner Dictionary Plugin Finally Available

        KRunner is one of the reasons (but not the only one) that I love KDE SC. With this new plugin, it just become a lot better. It will not be included in KDE SC 4.5 (since it is supposed to be released tomorrow :p), But, hopefully, it will make it to KDE SC 4.6.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Tenth Annual Debian Developer Conference – World’s Largest GNU/Linux Distribution Developers’ Conference about to start

        The Debian Project, the team behind the free Debian GNU/Linux operating system, would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming Debian Conference which will take place from August 1 to 7, 2010, at New York City’s Columbia University in cooperation with the Columbia Computer Science department. This year’s conference is the first DebConf to be held in the United States in the 11-year history of the event. This year, more than 300 developers from all over the world, including Brazil, Argentina, Bosnia, Mexico, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Venezuela, and Latvia, will participate.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Kernel 2.6.35 available for Ubuntu 10.04

          The Ubuntu kernel developers tagged the 2.6.35 kernel as Ubuntu-lts-2.6.35-14.19 in their repository. For a step by step article to to compiling the 2.6.35 kernel follow my how to compile article.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Barnes & Noble Doubles Down on the Nook

      B&N plans to free up room for Nooks in part by shrinking space devoted to CDs; in this era, you gotta think that it probably would be deemphasizing sales of music on shiny discs no matter what. It says it’s not going to carry fewer dead-tree books.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Android Handset Sales Beat iPhone Amid Froyo 2.2 Update Frenzy for Evo, Droid

          Two separate reports today place sales of Android handsets ahead of Apple’s iPhone for the first time amid a frenzy of Froyo, or Android 2.2, update news for major smartphones including the Evo 4G and Droid.

          Verizon’s Android 2.2 update for the Motorola Droid — and perhaps Droid X — should begin by next week, and news of the upgrade comes on the heels of Sprint’s announcement that Android 2.2, dubbed Froyo, is going to start rolling out tomorrow for the HTC Evo 4G.

        • Android Deployments Up 886% Over Q2 2009

          International smartphone trend reporting firm Canalys released its Q2 2010 report today highlighting the growth of Android compared to the previous year and the continued success of Nokia, though the release was quick to point out that the competition is closing the gap.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Can’t wait for Chrome OS? Jolicloud’s cloud-based OS hits v1.0
      • Chrome OS vs Jolicloud

        As Google continues to twiddle it’s fingers over Chrome OS a rival ‘cloud OS’ called ‘Jolicloud’ has been making waves for the last few months. Jolicloud Operating System was developed by a company which was started by the founder of Netvibes; the OS has been gaining popularity and already seems like a viable alternative to Google’s Chrome OS.

    • Tablets

      • Will Amazon Turn The Kindle E-Reader Into A Fully Fledged Tablet?

        Looking at the Kindle more closely, one can see the similarities with existing tablets on the market; Freescale ARM-11 CPU running at 532 MHz, 4GB internal memory, Wi-Fi and running a Linux-based OS. The only things missing are a decent colour touchscreen and a clear commitment from Amazon to proceed further.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Experimental PHP Projects Pushing the Envelope

    As the saying goes, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” But in the world of programming, stretching boundaries is just part of the fun. The PHP community has never been one to shy away from bending their favorite language more ways than a shopping mall pretzel, and as the ten wild projects introduced in this article indicate, the fervor for experimentation is as strong as ever!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox To Make History, About To Surpass IE in Europe

        August has arrived. Time for a browser market share update. There is quite a bit of news this month, which, depending on your view, can be modified in virtually any direction you prefer. Microsoft likes the version in which IE has gained market share and pushed back Firefox and Chrome. Mozilla may like the one that embarrasses Microsoft and shows that it is about to overtake IE in Europe and Google will most likely state that there is a very good chance that it has now more than 10% of the market.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • The Illumos Project decloaks on August 3

      A number of the community leaders from the OpenSolaris community have been working quietly together on a new effort called Illumos, and we’re just about ready to fully disclose our work to, and invite the general participation of, the general public.

    • Sun takeover latest – Oracle still painfully silent

      OpenSolaris is far from alone in the orphanage. However, there are several organisations showing an interest in helping Oracle’s unwanted stepchildren. Since the takeover was completed, Sun’s former chief open source officer, Simon Phipps, has been involved in setting up ForgeRock, a company which provides a new home for a host of Oracle’s apparently unloved and unwanted open source projects.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Marketing Software Skills

      Here’s the thing, software isn’t the only Open Source industry. In fact, many other open source businesses are very profitable and are generally skills that have been around for quite some time.

      Let’s think about Open Source for a moment. The first line of the Wikipedia article states…

      Open Source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials.

      To me, it’s just the way we’ve always done things.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works

        In a recent paper, Prof. Steven Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) has argued strongly in favor of eliminating copyright from academic works. Based upon solid economic arguments, Shavell analyses the pros and cons of removal of copyright and in its place to have a pure open access system, in which authors (or more likely their employers) would provide the funds that keep journals in business. In this paper we explore some of the arguments in Shavell’s paper, above all the way in which the distribution of the sources of journal revenue would be altered, and the feasible effects upon the quality of journal content. We propose a slight modification to a pure open access system which may provide for the best of both the copyright and open access worlds.

Leftovers

  • Do Not Call List Tops 200 Million, Some Scammers Still Ignore It

    The Federal Trade Commission announced a milestone this week: its Do Not Call registry has just passed 200 million numbers.

    It’s quite amazing that any of this came to pass, really. When the registry was being considered back in 2002, telemarketing opposition was fierce, and for obvious reasons. The industry was large, powerful, and willing to be unbelievably annoying. It also saw quite clearly that a tough Do Not Call rule would chop off its business at the knees.

  • Man faces jail for videotaping gun-waving cop

    Police officer Joseph Uhler was caught on film charging out of his unmarked car and waving his gun at a unarmed motorcyclist pulled over for speeding. When the footage was uploaded to YouTube, authorities raided Anthony Graber’s home, seized his computers, arrested him, and charged him with “wiretapping” offenses that could land him in jail for 16 years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Bad guys could read RFID passports at 217 feet, maybe a lot more

      Radio frequency ID tags embedded in U.S. passports can be read hundreds of feet away, potentially making it inexpensive and easy to pick American tourists out of crowds for illicit purposes, a demonstration at Black Hat 2010 showed.

    • Trust, transparency, and WikiLeaks: Who gets to have control?

      I’m not willing to argue that involuntary transparency–or as we’re calling it in this case, a leak–is by definition wrong in all cases. And leaks are hardly new–think of the WWII military refrain, “Loose lips sink ships.” History has been changed, sometimes clearly for the better, by involuntary transparency. If you’d like to consider it further, George Mason University has a webpage devoted to the history of leaks. And more than one person, including Daniel Ellsburg, has noted that it’s difficult not to think of the WikiLeaks story as the 2010 version of the Pentagon Papers.

    • Mozilla Employee Hacks into Black Hat Video Stream

      The Black Hat security conference attracts the creme de la creme of the security industry. This year the organizers even offered a paid live stream for those unable to make the trip to Vegas. Called Black Hat Uplink, the service carried a $395 price tag. But as security expert Michael Coates found out, the price could be waived entirely, thanks to “a combination of logic flaws and misconfigured systems which provided access to a testing login page that could be used with user credentials that were not fully “registered” (e.g. no payment received). “

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • How Sinar Mas is expanding its empires of destruction

      Sinar Mas group is notorious for its destruction of millions of hectares of Indonesian rainforest, peatland and wildlife habitat. Two divisions within the group lead the destruction: pulp and palm oil. Recently, the group has diversified into coal.

  • Finance

    • Goldman’s Expensive Tastes Anger N.Y.C. Neighbors

      Local New York City residents are up in arms over a plan by Goldman Sachs to replace a discount shoe shop, a pizza joint, a recently closed New York Sports Club gym and a budget inn outside its new $2.1 billion headquarters with a string of designer restaurants and a luxury hotel. The Telegraph reported that the bank is being accused by denizens of “breaking promises.”

    • Lenders Freeze Global Assets of Ex-CEOs by Using U.K. Courts

      Iceland’s failed Glitnir Bank hf and other lenders claiming they were stung by internal fraud during the financial crisis are winning U.K. court orders freezing the worldwide assets of ousted executives with ties to Britain.

      Glitnir in May froze the assets of Jon Asgeir Johannesson, its former principal shareholder, and won a second court victory last week after he violated the order by paying bills. Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank, which defaulted on $12 billion of debt, and Intercontinental Bank Plc, the bailed-out Nigerian lender, won similar orders against former executives in the past year.

    • Goldman Defends Its Collateral Calls to AIG

      Goldman has long been criticized for benefiting from the U.S. taxpayer bailout of AIG. Taxpayers pledged up to $182 billion to address problems at AIG’s financial products division.

    • Financial News: Fund Sues Goldman Sachs Over Oil Bets

      An emerging markets hedge fund affiliated to Citigroup (C) has sued Goldman Sachs (GS) for its alleged failure to uphold its part of a trade involving Venezuelan oil warrants.

      Emerging Markets Special Opportunities Ltd, a hedge fund managed by Citigroup affiliate EMSO Partners, claims that over a three-year period Goldman failed to deliver oil warrants it had paid for.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-P2P lawyers accused of copyright hypocrisy

        Have the copyright enforcers been caught with their hands in the cookie jar? The blog TorrentFreak today published its claim that the US Copyright Group, which has filed more than 14,000 lawsuits against anonymous P2P movie sharers, ripped off another copyright settlement group in crafting its own settlement website.

      • US Copyright Group Caught Red Handed Copying Competitor’s Website
      • What About Creating A Digital Transmission Right

        As soon as you set up this bureaucratic structure, what really happens is that much of the money that could have gone directly to the artists (or to the artists’ business partners) goes instead into the massive overhead required to keep the “collection society” working in the middle. This isn’t a solution that helps musicians. It’s a solution that helps bureaucratic middlemen.

      • DMX Wins Major Direct Licensing Royalties Case; May Fundamentally Change Performance Royalty Landscape

        A court decision this week may fundamentally change how composers, songwriters and publishers are paid royalties for public performances of their music, as the precedent created has laid the groundwork to shift many more music performances out of the hands of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC and into direct license deals with publishers and writers.

      • Marvel Issuing Takedowns Over Thor Trailer; Hey Marvel: Trailers Are Advertising

        It’s a trailer. The whole idea of it is to act as advertising for the movie and get people more interested in seeing the movie. And having people put it online for you makes it free advertising, which is even better. So why take it down at all?

      • ACTA

        • Protecting Pizza, Port and Parma™

          The latest round of CETA negotiations took place last week in Brussels, with the GI issue (along with protections for industrial designs that cover the fashion industry) a top priority for the European delegation. The Canadian government unsurprisingly faces some opposition to the demands from domestic producers.

          Similarly, the ACTA negotiations, which have become increasingly acrimonious, have hit a major roadblock with the Europeans demanding extensive new enforcement powers — including criminal and civil penalties — for GI violations. The U.S. and Canada have been resisting the demand, leading Karel de Gucht, a European commissioner, to warn last week that this was a “red line” issue that could cause the EU to rethink the merits of the entire treaty.

Clip of the Day

How fast does your PC boot? – Ubuntu


Links 3/8/2010: MeeGo 1.0 IVI for Cars, OLPC Partners in Sri Lanka

Posted in News Roundup at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Journal Insider – September 2010
  • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

    As Michael said, proper use of a credit card requires a level of discipline. Some people get along very well with credit cards, while other people have difficulty in budgeting their purchases. If you’re the sort of person who feels comfortable maintaining a credit line, the Linux Fund (or BSD Fund) card is one way in which you can support open source without making a direct donation. Simply buying groceries, purchasing clothes or paying bills with a Fund card will help, in a small way, to support community events and various open source projects.

  • Consider open source appliances for backup

    Backup used to be simple in SMB environments: You slapped on your tape and autoloader, scheduled backup in the backup application, and set it to run. Occasionally you would test to see that it actually did run. Most of the time it worked; when it didn’t you could troubleshoot the problem and make sure backup ran that night. No harm, no foul.

  • Kernel Space

    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.35

      Measures to support the power saving mechanisms of AMD graphics chips, network code optimisations for multi-core processors, features for de-fragmenting the working memory and an improved support of the power management and turbo features offered by modern processors are KL 2635 Logo among the highlights of the new kernel version.

    • Intel Releases PowerTop 1.13 With New Features

      While it may have seemed like PowerTop was idling by for a while without a new release or any major advancements to this open-source utility for analyzing power consumption to find programs causing more wake-ups than necessary and to provide other power savings tips on Intel-based Linux systems, a new release has emerged. Intel released PowerTop v1.13 recently and it adds a few new features to the power table along with a number of bug-fixes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • [Plasma] in case you missed it …

        # tons of work on Plasma Mobile, which can not only make phone calls now but which has an innovative and common sense approach to interacting with desktop widgets even on those tiny screens. Marco is doing some amazing work, including screencasts. It’s Sunday today and guess what I see on the commit logs as they roll past my screen? Yep, Marco hacking on Plasma Mobile. Commitment, baby, commitment! :)

      • writing a plasma shell

        We get asked from time to time “Why Plasma?” or “What is the purpose of libplasma, exactly?”. Or we get compared to other projects out there, even though there are only passing similarities. (I have yet to find another single project that approaches this problem space in the same way Plasma does; either Plasma is fairly unique or I’m just not looking hard enough. :) I have my stock answer about a scalable, repurposable interface component system with a high degree of data/visualization separation that emphasizes scripting, etc.

  • Distributions

    • 4 Educational Linux Distributions

      Today, we’ll review 4 different desktop distributions specifically designed for educational and academic use.

    • Ubuntu vs. Red Hat: Who really contributes the most to Linux

      I also think that for a long time there’s been too much emphasis on coding. The people who popularize Linux, the people who write about Linux, the people who run LUGs (Linux User Groups) and community Linux shows, and the businesses that have committed to Linux also deserve credit.

      Yes, the people who write Linux are vital, and Red Hat is the clear leader in producing code — but it’s not just about who writes the code. If you look at the bigger picture, I think Canonical deserves a lot of the credit as well for Linux turning into a grown-up family of operating systems.

    • Healing old wounds

      Red Hat’s success in proving a viable business model around a distribution was a very significant milestone in that quest, for all of us. I don’t mean to diminish that achievement when I point out that it’s come at the cost of dividing the world into those that buy RHEL, and those that can’t or won’t. Red Hat’s success is well deserved, and our work at Canonical is not in any sense motivated by desire to take that away. Red Hat is here to stay, there will always be a market for the product, and as a result, we all have the reassurance that our contributions can find a sustainable path into the hands of at least part of the world’s population.

      Canonical’s mission is to expand the options, to find out if it’s possible to have a sustainable platform without that dividing line. We know that our quest would not be possible without your pioneering, but we don’t feel that’s riding on anybody’s coat-tails. We feel we have to break new ground, do new things, add new ingredients, and all of that is a substantial contribution in turn. But we don’t do it because we think Red Hat is “wrong”, and we don’t expect it to take anything away from Red Hat at all. We do it to add to the options, not to replace them.

    • GNOME Study Shows Red Hat Desktop Development Lead

      At last week’s GUADEC (GNOME Users’ And Developers’ European Conference), held in The Hague, Netherlands, Neary Consulting published the results of a very interesting GNOME Census study exploring “who develops GNOME.” Of course, readers will already know that GNOME is the default desktop environment for Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, as it is for many other desktop Linux distributions, such as Debian and Ubuntu.

    • Reviews

      • Distro Hoppin`: Pinguy OS

        Pinguy gained a deserving spot inside my Distro CD/DVD wallet. I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants a fresh, friendly and featureful Linux OS. More experienced users will most likely diss it for shoving all these applications down their throat, but if they’ll give it a look or two, they might appreciate the effort.

      • Benchmarks Of The Gentoo-Based Calculate Linux Desktop

        The benchmarks we ran across Calculate Linux Desktop, Ubuntu, Sabayon, and Fedora were OpenArena, World of Padman, 7-Zip, LAME MP3, FFmpeg, x264, OpenSSL, GraphicsMagick, Himeno, NAS Parallel Benchmarks, Apache, C-Ray, PostMark, Gzip, and Parallel BZIP2. All of this testing was done by the Phoronix Test Suite, which supports automated testing on the aforementioned distributions plus plenty of other distributions and Unix-like operating systems.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva paywalls

        As this video suggests, trying to get users to pay for things which in other distros “just work” is the sign of a bad business model. Technically they’re perfectly within their rights to charge for Gstreamer or other software components, since it’s kosher to charge for free software if that’s what you want to do. However, they would be much better off if the paying element was concentrated on product differentiating applications or services.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Developer Conference Under Way in New York City

        The tenth annual Debian Developer Conference has opened in New York City. DebConf 2010 is the first time the event has been held in the United States.

      • DebConf 10: Day 1

        The first day of DebConf is known as Debian Day. While most of DebConf is for the benefit of people involved in Debian itself, Debian Day is aimed at a wider audience, and invites the public to learn about, and interact with, the Debian project.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 204

          In This Issue

          * The Open Source Community Responds to Dave Neary’s GNOME Census Work Presentation at GUADEC
          * Ubuntu Global Jam: Start Your Engines!
          * Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha-3 coming next week
          * 10.04.1 Release Schedule Update
          * Fixing Ubuntu Software Center Descriptions
          * New Kubuntu website is live!
          * Ubuntu Font Beta: now with added Bold
          * Ubuntu News Team – Needs You!!
          * Ubuntu Stats
          * Monthly Reports
          * LoCo Council meeting time change
          * Ubuntistas, the magazine of the Greek LoCo
          * Ubuntu Q&A community in Shapado – progress
          * Ubuntu Hour in Bangalore
          * Became members of Ubuntu Colombia
          * Come to the Ubuntu side, we have badges
          * Limerick Ubuntu hour a success
          * Second San Francisco Ubuntu Hour
          * Ubuntu China LoCo Team resigning and nomination meeting
          * Launchpad News
          * Dear Ubuntu Community – Thank You
          * My Motivation for Doing Opensource
          * Cleansweep Update!
          * This week in design – 30 July 2010
          * Design by enthusiasm
          * In The Press
          * In The Blogosphere
          * 10 reasons why your kids should be using Linux
          * Canonical fluffs one-click Ubuntu cloud stack
          * GNOME 3 not ready yet, release pushed back to 2011
          * Using ALSA to Control Linux Audio
          * Try Out Opera Mini In Ubuntu
          * Latest ATI Video Driver Has Support for Ubuntu 10.04
          * Ubuntu Server makes gains at SUSE Linux’ expense
          * bzr-svn 1.0.3 announced
          * bzr-git 0.5.2 announced
          * Whitelisting Advances with New Bouncer App
          * Dell to Continue to Sell Ubuntu Systems, Just Not on Its UK Website
          * TurnKey Linux: GNU high school: teaching kids by contributing to open source
          * Full Circle Magazine Issue 39 is available
          * Weekly Ubuntu Development Team Meetings
          * Monthly Team Reports: July 2010
          * Upcoming Meetings and Events
          * Updates and Security
          * UWN Sneak Peek
          * and much much more!

        • Ubuntu Needs a New Sound Theme

          We want to reduce the number of sounds you’ll hear on a default Ubuntu installation, with an emphasis on making sound a usability feature instead of an annoyance. So we’re clipping out things like ‘button-pressed’ and ‘service-logout’, and working towards shorter and less intrusive, more refined audio set.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 To Ship With Firefox 3.6
        • Ubuntu Business (Part Two)

          Matthew Barker, of Canonical’s Corporate Services told us that Canonical, a private limited company, has offices in London, Boston, Montreal and Taiwan, and well over 300 staff in twenty-five different countries. Some of their customers who have deployed Ubuntu include Qualcomm, University of York, NHS, T-Mobile, French Gendarmes and LVM Versicherungen.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – 3 Linux Mint 9

            Part three of this series, and I am writing this from Linux Mint 9 KDE4. Already I am feeling very at home with it, and already after working heavily with quite a few KDE distros in a short timeframe I begin to realise some things that I find wrong with them are KDE specific.

            Is Linux Mint 9 the KDE nirvana I am looking for?

            This will only be a short writeup, my full review on Linux Mint 9 KDE will follow later in the week…

          • Jolicloud: The future is HTML 5

            Tariq Krim, the co-founder of web portal company Netvibes, has a new project that takes open source and the cloud into the ever-expanding portable-computing market.

            The French entrepreneur’s latest venture is Jolicloud, a Linux distribution that bears as much resemblance to a modern smartphone operating system (OS) as it does to a traditional desktop OS. Jolicloud, which targets the netbook market in particular, has a launcher that is built in HTML 5 and a core cloud-based service that allows the user to back up and synchronise chosen apps between multiple installations.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo 1.0 IVI For Your Car Is Released

          MeeGo 1.0 for netbooks was released back in May (and an update already released to that) while a month ago there was an early release of MeeGo 1.1 For Handsets released with the official release coming later in the year with MeeGo 1.1 for netbooks. Today “MeeGo 1.0 IVI” has been released and this is designed for in-vehicle infotainment systems.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • One Laptop Per Child Finds New Partners in Sri Lanka Test Run

        One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has had its fair share of critique and controversy, but if any of that is putting a damper on the project, someone forgot to tell its founder, MIT Media’ Lab’s Nicholas Negroponte–now he’s partnered with IT consulting group, Virtusa, which has decided to run user scenarios and tests to help improve the software and hardware behind OLPC.

Free Software/Open Source

  • BSD

    • Welcome!

      Welcome to the PC-BSD blog! Here we hope to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening with the PC-BSD operating system and what features are in the works. We also want to hear your comments and feedback so we can find out what is useful and interesting to PC-BSD users and become aware of any pain points or requests for new features.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino: The Documentary, a Movie About Open Source Hardware

        The Arduino is a type of open source hardware that we covered in The Atlantic in January. “Using an Arduino is fairly straightforward: buy a board (ranging from about $19 to $65) and attach it to a personal computer via a cable. Then load instructions into the Arduino’s processor via the personal computer,” William Gurstelle explained. “Once programmed, the Arduino makes decisions based on the information transmitted by whatever sensors you’ve hooked up, and does something corporeal, such as turn on or off the motors, displays, valves, and lights attached to it.”

  • Programming

    • August Project of the Month: Wireshark

      We’re thrilled to honor network protocol analyzer Wireshark as August’s Project of the Month, one of SourceForge’s longest-lived projects. Originally named Ethereal, its been under development for more than 12 years and is used by companies like Google and Citigroup.

    • Too Smart for Git

      Gerrit acts as an intermediary between developers and the origin repository. You send commits to Gerrit and it holds them in purgatory until they are signed off on by another developer. Then, if the commit applies cleanly to the branch, Gerrit applies it. Otherwise, it asks you to upload a merge commit, which is where the fun really starts.

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Project Vigilant and the government/corporate destruction of privacy

      Uber is the Executive Director of a highly secretive group called Project Vigilant, which, as Greenberg writes, “monitors the traffic of 12 regional Internet service providers” and “hands much of that information to federal agencies.” More on that in a minute. Uber revealed yesterday that Lamo, the hacker who turned in Manning to the federal government for allegedly confessing to being the WikiLeaks leaker, was a “volunteer analyst” for Project Vigilant; that it was Uber who directed Lamo to federal authorities to inform on Manning by using his contacts to put Lamo in touch with the “highest level people in the government” at “three letter agencies”; and, according to a Wired report this morning, it was Uber who strongly pressured Lamo to inform by telling him (falsely) that he’d likely be arrested if he failed to turn over to federal agents everything he received from Manning.

Clip of the Day

GNOME Shell Workspaces


08.02.10

Links 2/8/2010: Ubuntu Studio 2.1, “Open Source Bubble”

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu’s Wild Ride on the Dell Roller Coaster

      There are many occupational hazards associated with being a fan of FOSS, but one Linux Girl never expected to have to endure is what’s afflicting her now: whiplash.

      Yes, after all the unexpected twists and turns in Dell’s (Nasdaq: DELL) approach to Ubuntu, another surprise maneuver came up last week that was simply too much.

      The move in question, you ask? Well, just days after the news broke that Dell had removed all Ubuntu-preloaded machines from its site, reports emerged that the company is actually *expanding* its desktop Ubuntu selection.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC4 Architecture and What it Means for the Future

        KDE SC 4.0 was released in January of 2008 and KDE SC 4.5 will be released shortly (August 4th, 2010), roughly two and a half years later, and it is time to reflect on what KDE SC4 seeks to accomplish and how well it is doing in its goals. The critical shift KDE SC took in this series is abstracting the desktop from the underlying system through three pillars, phonon, plasma and solid making the desktop some sort of a virtual platform environment and easily portable to other operating systems.

      • Sports Activity Tracking App: The Baby Needs a Name

        This one’s an activity and sports tracking application similar to the .NET-behemoth Sport Tracks or Garmin Training Center.

        It’s not a hundred percent complete yet and has its share of rough edges, but to give you an impression of what works already,

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Leads Corporate Contributions to GNOME Desktop Project

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today highlights its leadership in open source desktop development with its ranking as the top corporate contributor to the GNOME project. In a census study published by Neary Consulting at GUADEC, held last week in The Hague, Netherlands, Red Hat placed first among the total 106 companies that have contributed to GNOME development over the past 10 years with nearly 17 percent of the total code commits. The study also showed that nine out of the top 20 contributors are Red Hat employees.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is The “Open Source Bubble” Over?

    Usually it’s a desire for control or exclusivity in some form, but the outcome is always to negate the “open source effect” by limiting the ability of every participant to get what they want and thus give what they can. While there’s clearly a niche for one or two expertly-balanced businesses, the propensity of commentators to focus on these colourful exceptions has created the perception this is the norm.

  • Can Day Software Propel Adobe Towards a More Open Business Strategy?

    As most involved in the broad content management market, I’ve seen the news of the week: Adobe acquires Day Software, the hot WCM vendor.

    [...]

    Adobe could concentrate on monetizing global service offerings: Omniture, Livecycle, end-to-end workflows for medias, acrobat.com on steroids, more online services, etc. Commoditizing the core WCM technology would keep the competition busy and let them make money where they hardly have any meaningful competition, innovate more with new services spanning and leveraging the wide reach of their offerings. We also would see an ecosystem thrive on CQ5, providing the ignition — for free — Adobe needs to enter the market. Kinda the Google way, after all.

    Actually the more I think to this and after having read Adobe’s plan for Day, I think it’s the best way to achieve it. If they truly want to create a platform for customer engagement management, this is the way. This is how the industry builds big platform nowadays, by open source software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements

      Research published this week suggests that the majority of federal government departments in Germany are ignoring requirements to implement Open Standards.

      A survey was conducted by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to investigate the state of government adoption of ODF, and to promote wider uptake of Open Standards. “Although federal policy has wisely embraced Open Standards for interoperability, accessibility and security, it is clear that most government bodies are still using inefficient proprietary formats” said Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE. “Ultimately citizens will end up paying the price for this lack of conformity through higher bills for public IT contracts, and slower services due to interoperability problems” he added. “They will also pay a price in freedom, as they are forced to use proprietary software and standards to communicate with government authorities”.

  • Project Releases

    • OTRS 3.0 Beta 1 includes new GUI

      OTRS Inc. has announced the release of the first beta of OTRS (Open source Ticket Request System) version 3.0, the company’s open source help desk system. According to OTRS Research and Development Director Manuel Hecht, the latest development version results in “up to 30% quicker ticket turnaround under demanding high-usage scenarios, on top of enhanced features and accessibility.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data and the voluntary sector

        Here at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) we’ve recently started taking an interest in open data, and its implication for charities and the voluntary sector.

        We know that some voluntary organisations which specialise in open data have been leading the charge – the Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit company, mySociety is a registered charity – and often the most exciting and innovative uses of open data are made by volunteers in their spare time. But we know that many voluntary organisations find it difficult to find the time and skills to develop their ICT capabilities, and can find the challenge of implementing new technologies in their organisation daunting. This is daunting not just because of the time and resources required, but also because it requires a change in organisational culture.

      • Can You Make Money from Open Source+Open Data?

        By contrast, the data underlying Google’s search engine is public – anyone can go out and crawl the entire Web (indeed, companies like Microsoft do that). But for all its support of free software, Google does not make the key part of its code – its PageRank algorithm – public.

        So, it’s definitely true that some of the most important players in the digital world offer either open source or open data, but not both: is it *necessarily* true, though?

      • From journalists to interpreters – is data changing the way we work?

        Well, the last year has answered that question for us. It has been an incredible one for public data. Obama opened up the US government’s data faults as his first legislative act (http://www.data.gov/), followed by government data sites around the world – Australia (http://data.australia.gov.au/), New Zealand http://www.data.govt.nz/, the British government’s Data.gov.uk and of course the London datastore.

    • Open Access/Content

      • $200 Textbook vs. Free. You Do the Math.

        “We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”

        The nonprofit Curriki fits into an ever-expanding list of organizations that seek to bring the blunt force of Internet economics to bear on the education market. Even the traditional textbook publishers agree that the days of tweaking a few pages in a book just to sell a new edition are coming to an end.

Leftovers

  • Financial Times chief sees paywalls as ‘morally’ necessary to protect journalism

    Taken in the economic context of the rest of the interview, it makes him appear ignorant of the fact market forces, not the opinions of free culture advocates, are what’s hurting his traditional industry. Not a smart impression to give, even if you are turning a profit.

  • Science

    • Department Of Outlandish Ideas: Build Solar Roadways

      If you want to change the world, you have to think big. Say what you want about the feasibility of Scott Brusaw’s idea to replace asphalt roads with miles of solar ribbons that cars and trucks can drive on, it is a very ambitious idea. Brusaw is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Roadways, a bootstrapped startup in Idaho. He is an engineer, and is building prototypes of solar panels that could be used as roads.

    • Quantum memory may topple Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

      A quantum memory may be all scientists need to beat the limit of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to a paper published in Nature Physics. According to a group of researchers, maximally entangling a particle with a quantum memory and measuring one of the particle’s variables, like its position, should snap the quantum memory in a corresponding state, which could then be measured. This would allow them to do something long thought verboten by the laws of physics: figure out the state of certain pairs of variables at the exact same time with an unprecedented amount of certainty.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Negative Equity in Underwater Homes

      Calculated Risk gathers the data on underwater homes:

      * There are 14.75 million underwater homes and 4.1 million of these have more than 50% negative equity (the homeowners owe 50%+ more than their homes are worth).
      * The total negative equity is $771 billion.

    • Garbage islands threaten China’s Three Gorges dam

      Thousands of tonnes of garbage washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China’s massive Three Gorges Dam, and is in places so think people can stand on it, state media said on Monday.

      Chen Lei, a senior official at the China Three Gorges Corporation, told the China Daily that 3,000 tonnes of rubbish was being collected at the dam every day, but there was still not enough manpower to clean it all up. “The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges Dam,” Chen said, referring to the gates of the locks which allow shipping to pass through the Yangtze River.

    • Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany

      As Germany’s wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Give & Take: Fifth Amendment Complicates Net Neutrality

      Opponents of net neutrality, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have pointed to numerous grounds upon which the detrimental scheme could be challenged. These include its deterrent effect on investment, its unsatisfactory grounding in FCC statutory authority, and that it violates the First Amendment.

      A forthcoming paper from Boston College Law Professor Daniel Lyons offers an even stronger basis for challenge: The Fifth Amendment. Under Prof. Lyons’s theory, net neutrality would run afoul of eminent domain. It would constitute a regulatory taking, requiring just compensation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • NAMCO Demands Takedown Of Pacman Game Created By Kid Using MIT’s Scratch Programming Language

      An anonymous reader sends over the story, found on Reddit of how Namco Bandai sent a letter complaining that a kid recreated Pacman online using Scratch. If you’re not familiar with it, Scratch is a very simple programming “language,” basically designed to teach kids how to program (or think about programming) from a young age. And what’s one of the best ways to learn to program? It’s to recreate an app that already exists.

    • Copyrights

      • Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

        At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

      • Hey NY Times: Can You Back Up The Claim Of $200 Billion Lost To Counterfeiting?

        It’s getting really frustrating watching the supposedly professional press repeat stats that have been thoroughly debunked as if they’re factual, so I think it’s about time that people started calling out the publications and reporters who make these mistakes directly. So, Stephanie Clifford, reporter for the NY Times, can you give any evidence whatsoever to support the claim that you made in your article this past weekend that counterfeiting “costs American businesses an estimated $200 billion a year?” I don’t think that Clifford can, because that number has been thoroughly debunked time and time again.

Clip of the Day

TYT On MSNBC: WikiProtest Launch (Share Your Ideas!)


Links 2/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Released, AppArmor in Linux 2.6.36

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Let’s Talk about Piracy III – Open Source Software

    But what about everything else? Do you need to spend Rs. 4,500 (USD 100) to purchase your copy of Windows? Let’s take the basic three requirements of PC users world-wide — surfing the internet, use of office productivity software and multimedia playback. You don’t NEED Windows to do many of the tasks today. Yes, that document you’re typing doesn’t NEED Microsoft Word (it could do just fine with a Google Doc or Open Office). Speaking of Operating Systems, there’s one that is free in the truest sense of the term — Linux

    For the uninitiated, Linux is an open source operating system. Actually, Linux is a kernel (i.e. the heart of an OS). Open source means you freely release the code of software you make for the rest of the world. Then anybody can take it and modify it to their liking. To cite recent examples, Google’s Android phones work on Linux’s kernel and their Chrome OS is also going to be based on the same.

  • [Linux Gazette] August 2010 (#177)
  • A Linux for everyone (and everything)!

    Here’s what would this magical distribution would need to include…

    [...]

    People would buy this. PC makers might even distribute it on new PCs. Who knows. But ultimately the consumer would be the big winner because they would be getting an operating system on their machine that is stable, secure, reliable, AND runs Windows applications. What more could a use need or want?
    Something like this is certainly feasible. It wouldn’t take a Canonical much work at all to roll the above application set into a retail version of Ubuntu and start selling it. I would buy it…if only to support the cause. Would you?

  • Why I prefer the Linux desktop for software development

    I’ve been a full time Linux user for the past 6 years. In this post I’ll try to explain why I prefer the Linux desktop for doing all my software development work. I will try to stay as objective as possible about the other OS’s when making my comparison.

  • Linux again

    My first foray into Linux was Mandrake 9.1. 2003 was still early days for desktop Linux and I found it difficult to work on – which admittedly was also because I had newly migrated from Windows and had to learn a whole new set of tricks to use. While I enjoyed the change, Mandrake didn’t suit me and I got frustrated enough to make a wholesale change to Kubuntu – Ubuntu using KDE – in 2006. In 2008 KDE 4 came out and I was one of those who decided to ditch it. I then discovered Xubuntu – Ubuntu running Xfce – and made that my new Linux desktop. Now I have migrated to the most popular Linux distribution – Ubuntu, which runs GNOME.

  • Linux in the Movies

    In the the movie “Blood Work” there is a scene where actor Clint Eastwood is interviewing a witness to a murder.

    Prominently displayed behind this person is a Redhat Linux 6.1 book; and the entire bookshelf has Linux books.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 160 – Outlaws Ride Twingos

      This time on Linux Outlaws: Thesis backs down, NASA drops Eucalyptus, Dell drops Ubuntu, BSOD and the oil disaster, Apple world leader in being insecure and interviews from GUADEC 2010 including Lennart Poettering talking shop on PulseAudio and systemd.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux

      • Linux 2.6.35

        So I said -rc6 would likely be the last -rc, and nothing happened to change my mind. I’d always be happier if it had been an even quieter week, but the appended Shortlog of changes since rc6 doesn’t contain anything earthshaking, and I don’t think we’d have been any better off by another rc, and waiting one more week. So 2.6.35 is out, go check it out.

      • AppArmor Is Going Into The Linux 2.6.36 Kernel

        James Morris has outlined a preview of the security subsystem changes he is currently carrying in his security-testing-next branch of the Linux kernel that he plans to have Linus Torvalds pull into the next kernel development cycle for Linux 2.6.36. The big change in the kernel security world is that AppArmor is being planned for integration into the Linux 2.6.36 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Overview: Common Linux desktops

      Something most new Linux users often struggle to understand is the concept of desktop environments. What a desktop environment actually is, I feel, gets further clouded when users start exploring different “spins” of a distro (short for distribution). For example, it is very common for a new user to think that Kubuntu or Xubuntu is something entirely different from the well known Ubuntu. Many do not know that they can easily install any *buntu on any other *buntu with a single command![1]

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Beautiful Screenshots

        This weekend I finally sat down and wrote a screenshot effect for KWin. This effect redirects the rendering of any window into an off-screen texture and saves the texture into the home directory. The advantage of this effect is that it is hooked into the normal rendering process and so we can also capture the shadow and the translucency to get beautiful screenshots. If we capture a transparent window it does not show the windows below but only the captured window with the alpha channel turned on correctly.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Proposal to make GNOME a fully-fledged OS

        Last weeks GUADEC was less like a developers conference and more like a presidential campaign rally! The enthusiasm, positivity and general feedback that it has garnered is incredible but amongst the many interesting things propositioned at GUADEC came the idea of a GNOME as an OS.

      • Elegant Gnome (Theme) Pack PPA For Ubuntu And Linux Mint Users

        Elegant Gnome Pack is an amazing theme pack we included in a post on 5 great Gnome themes last week so you’re probably already familiar with it.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux light – SalixOS 13.1 “LXDE” Edition

        After looking at SalixOS 13.0 in my comparison of light weight Slackware derivatives for the desktop I thought I should give 13.1 a full standalone review. This also, I’ll admit from the start, because I’m very fond of it. Yes, I’m biased.
        There’s nothing better for me out there apart from Slackware proper, and SalixOS is the unaltered Slackware with a little custom art and a few helpful tools strapped on optimized for the desktop, like easy localization, setting of the clock, adding users tool, and truly one-click adding of multimedia codecs. Thus it makes sense that it’s tracking version numbers closely as well. It has not diverged in the way Zenwalk and Vectorlinux have. This makes for one very solid, extensible system. But let’s take it one step at a time.

        [...]

        To sum it up, SalixOS is smooth and there really isn’t more to say about it. Particularly the LXDE install is a great way of starting with a basic fast but still functional desktop that can be built and upgraded into a fully featured work space with KDE or Gnome should you wish. Or you can use standard with Xfce. I’ll conclude with the same findings as in the previous article. Whether you’re an aspiring ex-Ubuntu or ex-Mandriva user, want a quick and easy Slackware install or just something light but with lots of possibilities, give Salix a try. It’s easy, very easy.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Powerpack: Upgrade or Fresh Install?

        So I started over and chose “install” this time. The process went on fast and I restarted the computer. The new Mandriva Spring Powerpack was working perfectly.
        I noticed that Avidemux, the video editor was included, which made me very happy because I had problems to install it with Mandriva 2010.

    • Debian Family

      • My life with Debian

        I’m not trying to set any records here. I’m just lazy enough to avoid re-installing my OS and setting it up. But I seriously doubt than any other OS or distro can handle it. It’s unique combination of Debian’s approach to distro development, package upgrade-ability policies and attention to software quality that makes it possible.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Golden Age of Open Source

    I mean, in 20 years time are there going to be IT students sitting in a lecture (virtual environment I would imagine), making notes on how 2010 was the year that the proprietary software model tipped into terminal decline?

    I have already seen the change happen in the world of content management. As we came out of the summer of 2009, hard on the tail of a global economic meltdown, something changed in the take up of open source ECM in the blue chip arena of business. Our projects suddenly shifted from strategic, point solutions leveraging the open source model of Alfresco to become main stream, enterprise adoptions of Alfresco as a chosen, strategic enterprise content management platform across global corporations and organisations. Not just on one or two occasions, not just in one or two sectors, but across the board.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Loses Market Share Again: Is That a Problem?

        First of all, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Internet Explorer has gained 0.42% in a month: that’s little more than statistical noise, and only from one data source. As for Firefox, it’s important to remember that over the last year its market share has hovered around the 23-24% mark, and so is essentially static in what is presumably a growing market: it is still gaining users. The main change in this time has been the undeniable rise of Google’s Chrome.

        That’s significant for a number of reasons. First, because it signals Google’s willingness to enter mature software markets. It confirms Google’s tactical use of open source to undermine proprietary competitors (something that other companies like IBM were one of the first to twig) – precisely its approach in the mobile sector too. It also has wider ramifications for Google’s future products, notable ChromeOS, which seems to be a browser-based approach to computing that places Chrome at the heart of the user experience.

      • 8 of the best web browsers for Linux

        The web browser is becoming the single most important piece of desktop software, if it isn’t already. Not only is the web a huge source of information, but also the conduit to a huge world of hosted apps and interconnected cloud services covering a range of new computer-based experiences.

        When you’re shopping, you want security; when you’re working, you want reliability; and when you’re being entertained, you want speed and compatibility with many different types of media.

  • Government

    • Defense Ministry wins open-source award

      Defense Ministry won this year’s Open-Source Award for its extensive use of open-source systems in its offices.

      Initiated by the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, the Research and Technology Ministry and the Administrative Reforms Ministry, in conjunction with the Indonesian Open-Source Association, the award is aimed at promoting the use of free, open source software using the Linux operating system, among government offices.

Leftovers

  • Taking Back the DNS

    I am stunned by the simplicity and truth of that observation. Every day lots of new names are added to the global DNS, and most of them belong to scammers, spammers, e-criminals, and speculators. The DNS industry has a lot of highly capable and competitive registrars and registries who have made it possible to reserve or create a new name in just seconds, and to create millions of them per day. Domains are cheap, domains are plentiful, and as a result most of them are dreck or worse.

  • Intel’s Discounts

    This is about Intel paying Dell and other OEMs a “discount” to ignore AMD CPUs. The report to the court likely is about the prices paid. In the absence of sales of AMD CPUs it is hard to demonstrate that consumers/customers paid too much but what of the lack of choice? Combined with Moore’s Law it is hard to prove that Intel’s prices were “too high” or “higher than they would have been” without the discounts. This is silly when you consider the size of the bribes in $billions. If Intel’s prices were not too high, how did Intel imagine they could recoup the payments? Increased volume? Supply and demand do work.

  • EU turning blind eye to discrimination against Roma, say human rights groups

    The European Union was today accused of “turning a blind eye” as countries across Europe carried out a wave of expulsions and introduced new legislation targeting the Roma.

    Human rights groups criticised the EU for failing to address the real issues driving Europe’s largest ethnic minority to migrate in the first place and for choosing not to upbraid countries for breaking both domestic and EU laws in their treatment of them.

  • Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa, land of a billion customers

    In the peaceful and prosperous Namibian capital of Windhoek, small Chinese businesses have been ruffling feathers.

    The trouble began in February when members of the Windhoek chamber of commerce complained that an invasion of Chinese corner shops, hairdressers, restaurants and traders was forcing out local businesses.

    “There has been rapid growth in the number of small-scale retailing outlets throughout the country, offering low-quality products and replacing long-existing locally-owned businesses,” the chamber announced, lobbying the government to protect Namibian businesses from such energetic Chinese competition.

  • Science

    • NSFW: Sorry Deathhackers; Life Is Short, And So It Should Be

      Bill Gates has described bio-hacking (deathhacking?) as the logical successor to computer hacking. More importantly though, Silicon Valley people are – by and large – massive overachievers. Company founders in their teens, rich by the time they’re 30, angel investors by 31, charitable foundation at 40. No wonder these people want to go on forever: just imagine what they could achieve by the time they’re 1030!

      And so the research goes on, millions more dollars are poured in to deathhacking startups by rich-mortal-and-terrified benefactors, dozens more books are published on the subject and every day countless startup founders jump into their Teslas and speed to their “doctors” to pick up the latest batch of pills that they hope will keep them around until someone figures this shit out. And why not?

      Here’s why not.

      A few months ago I finished writing my book about living in hotels – a second memoir by the age of thirty, which is unwarranted by any measure. My deadline was January 1st, but I finally scraped past the finish line somewhere around the start of March. The truth is, I didn’t need the extra time: I’d already had a year to write the thing, and much of that time was spent dicking around in the name of “additional research”, most of which never made it into the final manuscript. But it’s generally accepted that authors never make their deadlines, and my publisher gladly gave me the 90 days grace I claimed I needed to complete the task.

    • Space Cadets

      Basically, it’s not clear how large a system you need to support human civilization. We don’t know how to build biospheres from scratch yet, and indeed there’s worryingly little research being done on the topic (which may become a screamingly important priority in another half century, if the most pessimistic climate change projections are accurate). We can make a rough back-of-the-envelope guess at the size of human population it takes — given abundant raw materials and a favourable biosphere — to maintain a technological civilization; it’s many orders of magnitude larger than the proponents of Heinlein’s nostrum that “specialization is for insects” may be comfortable with.

    • British campaigners in legal bid after US file leak

      British rights campaigners have launched a bid to take defence officials to court over the alleged involvement of the country’s soldiers in the shooting of Afghan civilians, a report said Monday.

      Tens of thousands of classified US military files published last week by whistleblower website WikiLeaks documented unusual civilian shootings in Afghanistan involving two British army units, said the Guardian newspaper.

    • Leaked war files no surprise to Afghans

      Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has played down the fallout from the Wikileaks scandal, saying the information released was “not a big surprise”.

      “Actually for us Afghans, and especially some of us dealing with intelligence, we knew it all along,” he said during a visit to Malaysia on Monday.

      “For us it was not a big surprise because we were sharing intelligence. We were aware of the size of the activities and support of the Taliban,” he said.

      “It is good now that everyone knows about it.”

      The WikiLeaks website released more than 90,000 classified US military files dating from the Afghan war between 2004 and 2009, a period when tens of thousands of US and NATO troops ran into increasing Taliban resistance.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables

      Fossil fuels are the backbone of economies worldwide, so governments spend a lot to support them. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 anf $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says.

    • Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

      The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

    • Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit

      The BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, with its tragic loss of life and devastating impact on the Gulf Coast economy, has brought the risk and high cost of oil development to the public’s attention. Predictably a round of oil industry executives have testified before Congress offering countless apologies and empty assurances that such an incident will never happen again. But this is the fourth major oil spill in 33 years on North America.

    • BP’s incoming boss says clean-up operation may be scaled down

      Bob Dudley, who was named this week to replace BP’s much maligned chief executive Tony Hayward, announced that the company was appointing a former head of the US federal emergency management agency, James Lee Witt, to help recover from the disaster. BP intends to attempt a “static kill” to permanently plug the well with cement on Tuesday.

      Although he told reporters that BP remained fully committed to a long-term restoration of the tarnished environment, Dudley told reporters in Mississippi that it was “not too soon for a scale-back” in clean-up efforts: “You probably don’t need to see so many hazmat [protective] suits on the beaches.”

    • BP oil spill: A Louisiana tragedy

      There’s hardly a family in the Gulf region that does not have a member involved in the oil industry. My father was a tugboat captain who handled barges of crude oil for the sprawling refineries, my brother sells oilfield equipment and technology, my nephew captains offshore supply vessels, my great-nephew operates a giant crane currently picking Katrina-smashed equipment from the Gulf floor. Cousins manage oil leases.

      So, even though I am not an oil worker, the industry is part of my environment, my history, and when I saw images of the April Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire, I thought at once, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong. That rig is state-of-the-art, the size of a small factory, loaded with technology that rivals the space programme in complexity. Why is the fire so enormous?” And later, when the labyrinth of pipes and valves keeled over in a rumbling, hissing nimbus of flame, I was astounded, thinking, “Why didn’t the blowout preventer shut down the well?” And days later, when it was revealed that the device was not functioning, a dark spill began to spread in my soul, a burgeoning realisation that nothing could stop a runaway well 5,000ft below the Gulf’s surface. Nothing.

  • Finance

    • Greenspan: Modest economic recovery ‘in a pause’

      Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he thinks the economy is having a modest recovery, but right now there’s a “pause” in that recovery, so it feels like a “quasi-recession.”

    • What Would Roosevelt Do?

      ACROSS the United States, thousands of federally financed stimulus projects are under way, aimed at bolstering the economy and putting people to work. The results so far have not been spectacular.

    • Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

      IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

    • With Friends Like This …

      IS it a blinding statement of the obvious to say that trust in the world’s banks has suffered lately? Indeed, just when you think you’re ready to move past the steady drumbeat of disconcerting revelations, something else crops up to test your faith.

      [...]

      Here’s yet another data point: the recent conclusion of a lawsuit filed by a unit of Grupo Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, against its longtime lender, JPMorgan Chase.

    • Billionaire Brothers Long Suspected of Tax Evasion

      Sam and Charles Wyly have long cultivated an image as active philanthropists, funneling millions of dollars to arts groups, colleges, literacy programs and animal shelters.

    • 25% of Americans Have Bad Credit Scores

      Before the recession, the number of people with a FICO score of less than 600 was under 15%.

    • Greece’s national strike threatens chaos for British tourists

      Thousands of Britons heading to Greece for their summer holiday last night risked becoming caught up in the chaos of a nationwide strike by protesting truck drivers that is threatening fuel, food and medical shortages across the country.

    • US economy shows signs of slowdown as consumer spending falters

      The US recovery appears to be faltering after a slowdown in consumer spending dampened growth and fuelled fears of a double dip recession.

      President Barack Obama’s hopes of a strong showing in November’s congressional elections took a blow as official figures revealed that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.4% in the second quarter compared with 3.7% in the first three months of the year.

    • Dhaka garment workers in violent protests over low pay

      The protests were prompted by a government announcement that monthly minimum wages for the country’s millions of garment workers would rise by about 80%. Union leaders say the raise is inadequate and does not match the high cost of living.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nleash: Take Back Control of your Nspire

      Nleash will forcefully remove both the downgrade protection and the installed 2.1 OS, allowing the user to reinstall any desired older version. For instance, OS 1.1 can be installed in order to run third-party C and assembly software through Ndless 1.0 (which supports only OS 1.1).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA ‘Protects’ Radiohead’s In Rainbows

        In 2007 Radiohead sent a shockwave through the music industry by allowing fans to download their new ‘self-released’ album ‘In Rainbows’ for whatever price they wanted to pay, including nothing. Fast-forward three years and the RIAA and IFPI are sending takedown notices to people who share that album online. What happened?

      • Day One: AFACT v iiNet BitTorrent Piracy Appeal

        Six months ago Aussie ISP iiNet celebrated following its legal victory against the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft. Now the pair are back in Federal Court for the appeal, where AFACT hopes to show that iiNet acted illegally when it refused to take action against customers who file-shared movies and TV shows using BitTorrent.

Clip of the Day

Google Chrome, Japan


08.01.10

Links 1/8/2010: GNU/Linux Reviews and GhostBSD 1.5 Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • GSoC 2010: Mind Mapping in KOffice

        A key element of mind map is tree which layouts shapes with text. I decided tree may be usefull not only for mind mapping, but for some other things. So I started working on TreeShape plugin. Plugin makes it possible to layout any KOffice shapes in tree structure and manage it.

  • Distributions

    • Distributions – A Brief History

      It seems as though there are as many Linux distributions as there are letters in the alphabet with which to name them. Certainly, there is a flavor to satisfy almost any palate. It wasn’t always this way, however. How did it happen? Why hasn’t the Linux world just standardized on a single distribution?

      The beginning of the Linux distribution really started with Richard Stallman and his fledgling Free Software Foundation in the early 1980s. The GNU operating system was being developed, intending to re-implement a UNIX-like operating system as free software. Although many GNU tools enjoyed wide use, the project suffered various setbacks and delays in its hunt for a kernel. There was a lack of cooperation from some at Berkeley with using the BSD kernel, and there were licensing issues with Mach (Carnegie-Mellon University’s microkernel). Before these issues were resolved and the GNU Project was able to make headway building its own kernel, Hurd (another free kernel) became available for use.

    • Reviews

      • Sabayon – no, I dont know what it means!

        Sabayon on the whole is a very usable system. Not as slick as some of the bigger boys but certainly capable of handling itself in a scrap. Media support is a bit patchy but good enough and XBMC pulls it out of the bag and gives it a purpose and some edge.

      • Mepis Mepis Mepis

        Killer Feature: Hard to find one really. Mepis is solid and the DVD runs nicely but the not wanting to boot from the hard drive aspect worries me that if it doesn’t work for me then its likely to not work somewhere else. Several nice touches like gadgets and widgets on the desktop but nothing that really stands out.

        Final verdict on Mepis is that its …OK. It works for some and not others and has made me appreciate what KDE has to offer in terms of built in software. Not blown away but it looks nice and does most tasks reasonably well.

      • Arch Linux Promising, Disappointing

        Arch Linux looks promising. The installation is easy, the documentation is helpful, and the package manager interface is simple.

        [...]

        In summary, the helpfulness of the Arch docs is directly proportional to the brokenness of Arch packages. To me, Arch is yet another distribution inferior to Ubuntu.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux Spring 2010

        So far it has been a smooth ride except for one annoying problem. I am not able to shut down my laptop.

      • Distro Hoppin`: Mandriva 2010.1

        Mandriva enjoys the support of many mirrors for their repositories and the closest one to my location helped me achieve awesome speeds, beyond 10 MB/s. Sadly, there were quite a lot of times when that mirror didn’t work at all. As a simple workaround, you can always change the mirror to a more reliable one from Software Manager → Options → Media Manager → File → Add a specific media mirror.

      • Man Driver – Mandriva Linux

        Verdict on Mandriva is that its the best non-Debian based system I have tried in these tests. Its got all the right ingredients to keep most people happy other than some support for DVDs or an easy way of getting them to work without hours of fiddling and downloading codecs.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Mark Shuttleworth apologises for alleged sexist comment

          Mark Shuttleworth has apologised “unreservedly to all offended” for his “poor choice of language” during LinuxCon 2009 during which a comment made by the Ubuntu founder was deemed to be sexist by many members of the Linux community

          The redress, given in the comment section of his blog, states: – “I apologize unreservedly to all offended by my poor choice of language on that or other occasion.”

        • We’ve got issue 39 out for you!

          That’s right, Full Circle issue 39 is out! We’ve got a review of the iRobot iPad Android tablet, talk about virtualizing Fedora, virtual memory, new interviews, and more! (Oh, and we seem to have the recurring theme of ’13′ in our articles.)

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Yuhnke commentary: Can a free alternative really replace Microsoft Windows on your mobile computer

            Over the past week I’ve been testing out a free operating system designed for netbooks called Jolicloud . I downloaded the installer from their website, went through a few prompts and within about 30 minutes it was up and running. The best part is, I was able to keep Windows on my netbook too. After installation, a prompt appears when I first turn my computer on asking me if I want to load Windows or Jolicloud. This made me feel safe, knowing that I could always go back to Windows if things didn’t work out.

            The first thing I noticed was the simplicity. There’s very little clutter on the screen. The interface is similar to what you see on an iPhone, there are pages of app icons. You can click the “Add” button in the upper left corner to find more applications to add to your netbook. It’s almost like the App Store on an iPhone. Jolicloud is based off Linux so it runs pretty smooth and there are about 700 applications available for Jolicloud. This includes office applications that support Microsoft Office files, video players, music organizers, etc.

          • Kubuntu gets Global Menu

            Kubuntu 10.10 has finally got its application menu integration ready. The application menu, also called “Global Menu” is not same as the one found in UNE 10.10, but it is using the same infrastructure.

          • Pinguy OS (Remastered Ubuntu) – Ubuntu After A Week Of Customizations [Review]

            Pinguy OS is a remastered Ubuntu with a lot of useful default applications – great for those who don’t like to do a lot of tweaking and want an OS that “just works”. Pinguy OS doesn’t rebrand Ubuntu, so you’ll have the same Plymouth theme, the Ubuntu logo for the menu and so on.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open to Everyone: How Open Source Communities Can Benefit from Diversity Without Disunity, Teresa Jewell

    Open source is at once a type of software licensing, a community model, an ideology, and a social movement. As a movement aiming not only to promote open source software within the software development community, but also to change the attitudes of commercial users, it can benefit from lessons learned by earlier social movements.

  • Integrating Lessons from Other Disciplines into Open Source Practice, Mekki MacAulay

    Open source theory and practice is inherently interdisciplinary. Viewing the challenges faced by open source communities, businesses, and contributors through the lenses of different disciplines can yield novel solutions. This article reviews select lessons from the diverse fields of fashion, gaming, and scientometrics. It examines the way these other industries have addressed issues that are of relevance to the open source community and suggests ways to put these lessons to good use.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 1.5 Screenshots

      GhostBSD 1.5 is based on the FreeBSD live CD however because this release is a little larger it comes on as a live DVD. As of this release GhostBSD is completely installable by issuing a list of commands and pc-sysinstall. A file with instructions for installing GhostBSD appear on the desktop. Although this install method is a little bit tough to complete, Eric Turgeonhas stated “Now for the next 6 mount I gonna work on a graphic installer for 2.0.” You can find more in the official release announcement. Please keep in mind you can buy Free-BSD and PC-BSD in our cart.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ZeroPaid Interviews the Free Software Foundation

      Open source has been in the media for quite some time whether directly or indirectly. With ACTA leak and the ASCAP letter two big news items that affects open source, we decided to sit down with the Free Software Foundation and talk about these and other things related to the open source movement.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Emerging-technology expert calls for open access to academic knowledge

        It is almost “criminally irresponsible” to hoard academic knowledge in the digital age, according to a Canadian specialist in the field.

        Brian Lamb, manager of emerging technologies and digital content at the University of British Columbia, also said that open educational resources (OERs) could help to reassert the academy’s role as a “leader and guardian of free and open enquiry”.

      • Open Access sceptics: parallels with climate change

        As a closing thought, if we think of academic journals in the OA debate as oil in the climate change debate, we are only going to have less and less access to them as time goes on. Academic libraries cannot afford to subscribe to them all, and that is only going to get worse. In the same way that in 50, 100, 150 years time (whatever it may be) we will have no oil-based fuel to put in our cars, in 10, 15, 20 years time you may be even less likely than you are now to reach your desired audience by simply relying on the subscription base of a given journal. Rather than waiting to see if this happens, why not do something about it now?

      • For the last time – open access is not like stealing bread

        The Times Higher ran a piece on ceviche cooking edupunk Brian Lamb’s keynote at the recent JISC OER event in London. Brian makes his usual good points, but it was some of the comments that were revealing.

        In particular, one that states “We should also have ‘open access’ at Tesco: I should just be able to take from their shelves what I want without paying.”

  • Programming

    • An Accurate Comparison of Perl 5 and Rakudo Star

      Rakudo Star is a useful and usable subset of Perl 6 you can use right now. It does not implement the complete Perl 6.0 specification, and it’s by no means the final release: it contains bugs and misfeatures, and it’s had very little optimization work for speed or memory.

Leftovers

  • Is Punch Google’s Swing At Microsoft Publisher?

    There’s a new mystery on the web today. In an otherwise boring video about “Google Lookup in Google Docs,” the search giant appears to have inadvertently revealed a new Google Docs product called “Punch.” So what on Earth is it?

    The blog Google Operating System (which spotted the feature) has its guess: “Maybe Google Punch is a free-form document that lets you combine data from other documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms.” ReadWriteWeb expands on that a bit for a similar guess: “Perhaps a Punch is a mix of functions and content intended for collaboration, more than for posting publishing like Google Pages is.” Both sound plausible, but we have another guess.

  • Cautious Arm declines to revise guidance

    Arm, the UK’s largest technology company by market value, declined to raise its full-year outlook in spite of beating market expectations with its first-half results.

  • An e-reader skeptic converted
  • Science

Clip of the Day

Firefox 4 Beta 2 – Web Tech Preview


07.31.10

Links 31/7/2010: Google’s GNU/Linux Strategy, YAFFS2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Google

    • Google Apps for Government: Inextricably Tied to Chrome OS

      While Google Apps for Government, a version of Google Apps certified for use by the U.S. government, is much in the news, not everyone is perceiving how closely tied the move is with Google’s much-ballyhooed upcoming Chrome OS. Google’s operating system, due in a matter of weeks, with numerous high-profile hardware partners committed to making netbooks based on it, is at the center of many initiatives from the company. In the case of Google Apps for Government, Google hopes to lend credibility to its cloud-based applications because Chrome OS is, through and through, a cloud-centric OS.

  • Kernel Space

    • YAFFS2: Yet Another Flash File System

      As flash sizes increased and Linux moved into more embedded niches, the need for read-write flash file systems was answered by JFFS2 which for a long time was de-facto standard Linux flash file system. As flash sizes grew even more and devices such as cellular phones that store large amounts of information (pictures, mp3 files) started using Linux, JFFS2 reached its scalability limits. As a result, new file systems specifically designed for large NAND flash devices were developed — UBIFS, LogFS, and YAFFS. For a long time only UBIFS was part of the mainline kernel and both YAFFS2 and LogFS where available as a patches. At some point in time it looked like LogFS developed was stagnated, with the latest patch available for kernel version 2.6.24. However, LogFS suddenly resurfaced and rather surprisingly was quickly merged into kernel 2.6.34 indicating that its developers kept working on this project, albeit with little publicity. YAFFS2, which contrary to LogFS was widely used, undergoes a similar process with respect to inclusion into mainlaine Linux kernel. It looks like even though in the past YAFFS2 developers did not make any significant effort to put it into the mainline kernel, it is going to change now.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600g Gains Mip-Map, Face Culling Support
      • NVIDIA Puts Out Two Drivers, Including For OpenGL 4.1

        While there’s very few people that NVIDIA’s dead open-source driver update helps out, NVIDIA has released two new binary Linux driver updates. The NVIDIA 256.44 pre-release driver adds in support for some new GeForce and Quadro GPUs along with introduces some “Fermi” (GeForce GTX 400 series) stability fixes while the NVIDIA 256.38.02 Linux driver introduces initial OpenGL 4.1 support.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

      • Collaborate and manage projects with Todoyu

        You’ll need a machine running the Apache/PHP/MySQL stack, or the XAMPP package.
        You’ll also need the latest release of Todoyu.

      • Free Resources For Getting Your GIMP Graphics Game On

        If you’ve spent any time at all working with graphics–whether you favor open source software or not–you’re probably familiar with the power of GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications. Of course, if you know your way around GIMP, you’re probably also familiar with the many effects you can execute with it. Scott Photographics has an excellent exploration of how to create see-through text effects posted, and you can learn to do so with GIMP in about five minutes. While you’re at it, check out this post’s collection of useful, free resources for GIMP.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Opinion: Re: Canonical release cycle for Ubuntu Server

          Even though my goto operating system for servers is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, lately I have been working with Canonical’s Ubuntu Server 10.04 and I will admit that it has so far been a great experience. Just like what is expected of a server operating system, it is not intended for the general user base and focused more toward an experience Linux user; especially when by default there exists no GUI. That is one of the best parts in my personal opinions. Another great thing about the OS relates to its simplified installation process and how everything is automatically installed and to an extent configured should you choose to configure the server as a LAMP, DNS, etc. A couple of years ago, I had reviewed an older 8.10 release here and here and wasn’t impressed. Now, I can see things have changed for the better. Unfortunately I will not be discussing this. But before I get any deeper into this article, I wish to share my experiences with 10.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Hacking the Nokia N900 Phone

          Do you remember the Frankencamera? The API used for the Frankencamera has been released for the Nokia n900 Phone, making the phones camera programmable. For those with programming skills this could be a very interesting Journey. FCam API provides you with full low level control of your camera, enabling you to hack your Nokia N900 and program it however you wish.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Tab Candy is the first step to sweeter browsing

        Tabbed browsing has arguably had a significant impact on the way that people use the Web, but the feature hasn’t really scaled to accommodate the increasing complexity of the average surfing session. The existing tab management and overflow handling mechanisms that are present in modern browsers are dated and suffer from some fundamental limitations that significantly detract from user productivity.

  • Oracle

    • The AEGIS Conference website is open for business

      As announced recently, the first International AEGIS Conference – “Access for All in the desktop, web and mobile field: an end-user and developer perspective” – will take place in lovely Seville, Spain on October 6-9, 2010. Now the conference website is open for business. You can browse the conference programme, learn about the venue, review the recommended hotels, and most importantly, register for the conference! Also, potential exhibitors are invited to review the exhibitor package.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.5.1 Released; GCC 4.5.2 Is Up Next

      Just as expected, GCC 4.5.1 was released today thereby meeting their target of releasing this point update to the GNU Compiler Collection prior to August. GCC 4.5.1 targets regressions and other bugs since the release of GCC 4.5.0 in mid-April.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Mapping Startup CloudMade Raises $12.3M

        Steve Coast, a cofounder of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company founded the OpenStreetMap community mapping project in 2004, and CloudMade draws its data from OpenStreetMap. Through application programming interfaces and other tools, CloudMade helps developers take advantage of OpenStreetMap’s geographical data to power their own location apps, then takes a share from the apps’ advertising revenue.

Leftovers

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge to RIAA: No LimeWire asset freeze

        In March, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Group, parent company of Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton are liable for copyright infringement by enabling and “inducing” users of the file-sharing software LimeWire to pirate songs from the four major record companies.

Clip of the Day

OLPC Sugar Port of the MeeGo Multilingual Virtual Keyboard


Links 31/7/2010: Western PA Linux User Group, Android, and OLPC Goodwill

Posted in News Roundup at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part One

    The time was ripe for Linux and free software in the late 1990′s. Netscape formed mozilla.org in February 1998 to fight the Microsoft in the browse war. Oracle, the proprietary database, supported Linux as a platform in October 1998. Sun Microsystems released Star Office in November 1998, the previous name of the Microsoft-crushing Oracle Open Office suite. Red Hat went public in August 1999 and quickly acquired Cygnus, the makers of the Cygwin – a bash shell with GNU tools for Windows. Meanwhile Apache gained and maintained at least 50% market share in the web server market, an achievement which Microsoft has never been able to do.

  • The Foundations of a Community: Western PA Linux User Group – Part Two
  • Desktop

    • Why Windows still has good sales figures

      16:29:53 Agent Makrand_Karante
      is there any thing else that I may assist you with today?
      16:30:07 Customer Alan
      well not really. I just wanted a laptop running Ubuntu.
      16:30:19 Customer Alan
      Do you have any without an operating system at all?
      16:30:28 Agent Makrand_Karante
      I am afraid no
      16:30:36 Customer Alan
      oh
      16:31:23 Customer Alan
      so if I want a laptop from Dell I have to buy windows

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The State of the Android Ecosystem

          The G1 was almost completely un-branded as an HTC phone. Instead, HTC gave over control of the UI to Google to ship a completely “stock” version of Android OS 1.0 (later given an over-the-air update to 1.6), and carried by T-Mobile. But Google had been clear from the inception of the Android OS: Its intended goal was to have multiple hardware configurations, running multiple versions of the OS, supported by multiple carriers simultaneously.

        • Android’s UK phone sales quadruple

          Sales of Android-based phones more than quadrupled in the UK during the most-recent quarter.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology for $35 Tablet

        The nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child wants to join forces to help develop the Indian government’s planned US$35 tablet.

        In a congratulatory note to the government, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the world needs the $35 tablet, and he offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SAP Warms to Open Source

    In 2005, Shai Agassi, then the SAP executive in charge of the company’s product group, expressed ambivalence over using open-source software. In the years since, however, the company has warmed to the idea. Certainly, SAP’s chief rival Oracle, for instance, is an active, if controversial, supporter and sponsor of many open-source software projects.

  • Healthcare

    • Wrap-up of the health care IT track at O’Reilly’s Open Source convention

      The first health care track to be included in an O’Reilly conference covered all three days of sessions at last week’s Open Source convention and brought us 22 talks from programmers, doctors, researchers, corporate heads, and health care advocates. We grappled throughout these three days–which included two popular and highly vocal Birds of a Feather gatherings–with the task of opening up health care.

    • VistA scenarios, and other controversies at the Open Source health care track

      Yesterday, as I described in my previous blog, we heard an overview of trends in health care and its open source side in particular. Two open source free software projects offering electronic health records were presented, Tolven and openEMR. Today was VistA day, and those who stayed all the way through were entertained by accolades of increasing fervor from the heads of vxVistA, Medsphere, and ClearHealth. (Anyone who claims that VistA is cumbersome and obsolete will have to explain why it seems to back up so many successful companies.) In general, a nice theme to see today was so many open source companies making a go of it in the health care field.

Leftovers

  • American Psychological Association claims to pay for peer review. Should we send them a bill?

    The reality: publishers do not pay for peer review; this is provided on a voluntary basis by the academic community itself.

    This is an argument that keeps coming up over and over again, and I am wondering how to get the point across that it is foolish to claim to pay for valuable services that you are getting for free?

  • Bloomsbury to e-publish one-million page Churchill archive

    Bloomsbury is to make its first move into archive publishing, digitising and publishing in electronic form the one-million page personal archive of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

  • Publisher argues free access to research violates administration’s transparency initiative

    Free online access to federally funded research articles defies the White House’s open government directive, a journal publisher told House members at a hearing on Thursday.

    A December 2009 presidential memo on transparency in government instructed federal agencies to abide by the precepts of public disclosure, civic engagement in policymaking and collaboration with the private sector, but not at the expense of national security, privacy or “other genuinely compelling interests.”

  • Security/Aggression

    • Nuclear News: Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets’ Exposure to Depleted Uranium

      ‘For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans. But a little-known 1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance. Shinseki’s memo, under the subject line, “Review of Draft to Congress – Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium in the U.S. Army — Action Memorandum,” makes some small revisions to the details of these three orders from the DoD: 1. Provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with DU contaminated equipment. 2. Complete medical testing of all personnel exposed to DU in the Persian Gulf War. 3. Develop a plan for DU contaminated equipment recovery during future operations. The VA, however, never conducted the medical tests, which may have deprived hundreds of thousands of veterans from receiving medical care to treat cancer and other diseases that result from exposure to DU.’

    • FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

      FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

      Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

    • Italy will fine people who disagree with Berlusconi

      THE GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT of the Piccolo Duce Silvio Berlusconi wants to fine bloggers and Facebook users for writing things that disagree with government lines.

      Berlusconi took time away from his busy casting couch for European MPs to push through a law that will fine bloggers up to €25,000 for publishing “incorrect facts”.

  • Environment/Wildlife/Nature

    • Whale fossil stuck in Egypt customs wrangle

      For years archaeologists have been unearthing a remarkable collection of whale fossils, all the more surprising because the area is now inland desert in upper Egypt.

      It is believed that about 40 million years ago the area was submerged in water, part of the Tethys Sea. As the sea retreated north to the Mediterranean it left a series of unique rock formations and also a cornucopia of fossils.

    • Will notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas come clean?

      The short answer: not likely.

      In fact, not only will they not be likely to come ‘clean’, but today we are releasing fresh evidence that Sinar Mas’s notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

    • Al Gore cleared of assault allegations made by masseuse

      Rees also said the masseuse and her attorneys were uncooperative, witnesses could not remember anything unusual, and that the masseuse failed a polygraph examination and would not say whether she was paid by a tabloid newspaper for her story.

    • Curbing Emissions with BRT, Leading with Clean Energy, and Bringing Information and Communication Tools to Remote Areas

      Looking back one, two and five years ago today on Worldchanging…

    • Metroradruhr: Germany’s Ruhr Valley Inter-City Bike Sharing

      This summer brings a new regional bike-sharing system, Metroradruhr, to ten industrial Ruhr valley cities. Started on June 18th in Dortmund, Germany the system has now reached five of the cities. Bikes are now, or soon will be, available in Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen. This is not just a series of suburban satellite additions to a larger city system, but a single system connecting nearby cities together.

    • Subsidising oil spills

      When oil started leaking from Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, did you know that you were paying BP and Halliburton to contribute to the disaster?

    • Oil disaster impacts reach far and wide

      Today we visited one of the Bird Rehabilitation Centers in Louisiana. We saw dozens of birds, from different species, cleaned of oil with detergent, water and toothbrushes and tagged. They are monitored and then released to the wild. The center has treated and release more then 500 birds so far, a small number if you take into account that more then 550 miles (885Km) of shoreline has been impacted by the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

    • A funeral and a celebration: grim clouds over Dalian

      I arrived in Dalian on the day of the funeral for firefighter Zhang Liang, who drowned beneath the thick crude when his crew jumped into the ocean – without safety gear – to attempt, in vain, to fix an underwater pipe. Our lead photographer, Jiang He, who by now has reached legendary status globally for capturing the final seconds of Zhang’s life, continued to cover the very emotional moments of this oil spill disaster.

    • Oil spill in China worsens

      We continue to keep a close watch on the development of the oil spill in Dalian, China, which has already cost the life of a firemen and continues to grow, posing an increasingly severe threat to the area’s coastal ecosystem.

    • Floods wash 3,000 chemical barrels into China river
    • Oily action
  • Finance

    • Ponzi Schemer’s Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Florida GOP for Donations Payback

      Bankruptcy attorneys for the Scott Rothstein estate have filed suit against The Republican Party of Florida, seeking the repayment of $237,000 in campaign contributions from the jailed former attorney.

      In a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Lauderdale, Berger Singerman, the law firm for trustee Herbert Stettin, alleges that the Republican Party has refused to return more than 10 different donations made by Rothstein over a four-year period.

      “The Trustee has made repeated efforts over a period of several months to resolve this claim without resort to litigation,” said Paul Singerman of Berger Singerman in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • How WikiLeaks Could Change the Way Reporters Deal With Secrets

      For the past several decades, there has been an informal understanding between the reporters who uncovered newsworthy secrets and the government intelligence agencies, which tried to keep them from public view.

      We would tell senior officials what we’d learned. And they would point out any unforeseen consequences that might arise from publication, such as the death of an American informant. Ultimately, the call on what appeared rested with editors. But it was a decision informed by more than our own guesswork.

    • Sherrod Says She Will Sue Blogger

      Ms. Sherrod also said she intended to sue Andrew Breitbart, the blogger, who runs BigGovernment.com and who posted the edited video of her making what appeared to be antiwhite remarks in a speech that was really about racial conciliation.

      “He hasn’t apologized, and I don’t want it at this point,” she said of Mr. Breitbart, adding that she intended to sue him. “He will definitely hear from me.”

    • New partnerships

      There are several marvellous things to note about this latest bombardment from cyberspace. One, when new media challenges old media, it is still possible for the latter to outshine the former.

      Get on to the Afghan War Diary web pages on Wikileaks and you will be suitably fazed. How to get something useful out of these bald listings without investing inordinate time?

    • Military transfers Manning to Quantico, VA
    • US will press criminal charges against Manning, alleged Wikileaks source

      The U.S. military has announced that it will press criminal charges against 22 year old Pfc. Bradley E. Manning for allegedly transferring classified military information to his personal computer, “wrongfully adding unauthorized software to a Secret Internet Protocol Router network computer,” obtaining “more than 150,000 classified U.S. State Department cables,” and transmitting data to unauthorized persons.

    • WikiLeaks: We don’t know source of leaked data

      WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief claims his organization doesn’t know who sent it some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghan war, telling journalists the website was set up to hide the source of its data from those who receive it.

    • US Army: alleged Wikileaks source Manning faces 52 years
    • A tide turns

      Technology used to help spies. Now it hinders them

    • Russia blocks Youtube

      VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has been blocked by a Russian Internet service provider (ISP) after a court deemed that the service carries extremist videos.

    • Russian city blocks YouTube
  • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Role of Free Knowledge and Free Software in Education and Research


Links 31/7/2010: Dell’s Many Mysteries and Wine Development Release 1.3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Simmtronics Rolls Out Slim Desktop PCs

      Simmtronics SDC 2711S comes preloaded with Ubuntu.

    • Where are Dell’s Ubuntu PCs?

      Back in February, I covered Gripe Line reader Cal’s complaint that Dell seemed to have stopped carrying Ubuntu machines. At the time, I spoke to Anne Camden at Dell, who assured me that the company would be refreshing its Ubuntu line “in several weeks.” Thus, I was surprised to hear from Gripe Line reader Ken recently, who has been watching the Dell/Ubuntu situation closely because he is in the market for a Ubuntu desktop.

      “I just want you to know,” Ken writes, “that Dell still isn’t offering any new Ubuntu machines.” Instead, the company is carrying only one laptop and a netbook.

    • Dell release OpenManage Server Administrator for Ubuntu

      Dell has announced the release of its proprietary OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) 6.3 for Ubuntu 9.10 or later. OMSA is a web browser or command line driven system administration tool for servers. The .deb packaged and community supported release was completed with a “generous donation” of several weeks of engineering time by Canonical, which allowed the Dell Linux team to become better acquainted with .deb packaging.

    • Dell Adds Linux Desktop PCs, But Stops Web Sales of Linux Laptops

      In a reversal of its long-time approach to Linux, Dell has now added a desktop PC pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux to its Web site, while halting online sales of Linux-based netbooks and notebook PCs.

      Dell started selling the Studio XPS 7100 with Ubuntu on its Web site earlier this week at pricing of $459.99 without monitor. The price includes a one-year basic service plan.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals

    • Wine

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 1.3.0 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Beginnings of a user interface for the builtin Internet Explorer.
        – Support for cross-process OLE drag & drop.
        – New builtin wscript.exe (Windows Script Host) program.
        – Open/save dialogs remember the last used directory.
        – Translation updates.
        – Various bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Open games with closed content

        Some Linux users have at least a general familiarity familiar with RMS’s four freedoms and the GPL. Some of the games mentioned in this column, in the past as well as in the future, are licensed such that the game itself is under the GPL or a similarly free license, but the content is not. That is, you are free to do whatever you want with the game engine itself, but don’t mess with the content.

        For example, let us consider the game Sauerbraten. Now, the Cube2 engine that is the heart and soul of Sauerbraten is totally copylefted. You can distribute it, modify it, and even rub it in your belly, if you so desire. However, the data files that are associated with Sauerbraten is not free. While you can run Sauerbraten with the associated data files that compose the actual content of Sauerbraten, you are not permitted to include the data files along with any changes you make to the Cube2 engine itself. If you want to modify the game engine and release your own modified version of the game called Schnitzel, for example, then you need to create your own maps, textures, skins, and music to go with Schnitzel.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Census report now available as free download

        I was delighted to see that the GNOME Census presentation I gave yesterday at GUADEC has gotten a lot of attention. And I’m pleased to announce a change of plan from what I presented yesterday: The report is now available under a Creative Commons license.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New controller chip sets stage for color e-readers

      Monochrome electrophorescent (EPD) displays sourced from E Ink Corporation have been used in the majority of e-readers to date. Examples include Amazon’s market-leading, Linux-based Kindle — updated today to become smaller and lighter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lockheed Goes Open Source. Blankenhorn Hates It.

    Wait, what? Open source advocates have, for years, been trying to encourage more code to come out from behind corporate skirts. Where companies can build business models around governing and supporting open source projects, we want them to take the plunge. If more code is open, that makes everyone smarter. And that, my friends, is exactly what Lockheed Martin did today. Someone who probably never contributed code in their lives just gave the community a project they’ve been working on for months, or even years. I think that’s amazing. In return, this brave developer gets painted as a nefarious secret agent out to steal our thoughts and bug our laptops. Or whatever.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Presentations at Debconf in NYC

      The first is “FSF’s Campaigns for Freedom” on Sunday, August 1st, from 14:00 to 15:00 in 414 Schapiro. I’ll give an overview of some of the current FSF campaigns, like the GNU Project, Working Together for Free Software, Defective by Design, PlayOgg, Windows 7 Sins, and the High Priority Projects List; and resources like the Licensing & Compliance Lab, Free Software Jobs page, Hardware Directory, and the Free Software Directory. But I’m going to save plenty of time to talk with the room about things the FSF should or could be doing.

    • Pictures from the GNU Hackers Meeting in the Hague (July 2010)

      The European GNU Hackers meeting took place this weekend in the Hague. Two days of talks about GNU projects, nearly 50 hackers, prodigiuous amounts of coffee, and exotic food. All followed by two days of coding for those who stayed on Monday and Tuesday.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Mars site may hold ‘buried life’

      Researchers have identified rocks that they say could contain the fossilised remains of life on early Mars.

      The team made their discovery in the ancient rocks of Nili Fossae.

      Their work has revealed that this trench on Mars is a “dead ringer” for a region in Australia where some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth has been buried and preserved in mineral form.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Saudia Arabia and Russia

      As I have discussed previously, without Russia the world of Non-OPEC supply would have fallen down into a hole shortly after 2003. Indeed, without Russia Non-OPEC production (Non-OPEC ex-Russia) would have fallen every year from 2004 through the present day. What’s been a surprise is that Russia has been able to sustain its current ~9.5 mbpd for over four years now.

  • Finance

    • High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

      Last year Gomberg and a fellow programmer quit their jobs and cut a deal with HTG Capital Partners of Chicago, whose programmers typically trade on regulated futures exchanges. HTG supplies office space, technology and access to exchanges. Gomberg keeps 40% to 80% of net profits, with the percentage rising as his profits do. More importantly, says Gomberg, the programmers retain ownership of the code they write.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google Search Engine Is Blocked in China

      Google said that the search engine was functioning normally in China. “It’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage. That seems to be what happened last night, when there was a relatively small blockage,” said Jill Hazelbaker, a Google spokeswoman.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google adds ‘phone home’ DRM to Android Market

      Google has added a licensing server to the Android Marketplace which will allow an app to verify whether the user has purchased it or not before opening.

    • Internet ‘Key Holders’ Are Insurance Against Cyber Attack

      In a move that seems inspired by “The Lord of the Rings,” seven “keys” have been handed out to a trusted circle of people who might get called upon to “save” the Internet in the aftermath of a cyber attack.
      But contrary to other news reports, the seven key holders have not been vested with the power to resurrect the entire Internet should it be sabotaged by hackers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Copyright vs Community 2009


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