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08.14.10

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Distributed Computing’s Broadening Scope

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

  • IBM

    • Linux Is On Parity With AIX Unix

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux KVM Eyes ‘World Domination’

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

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

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

    • LinuxCon grapples with challenges, from mobile to multicore

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

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

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

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

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

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

        • The New Ubuntu 10.10 Installer Is Live

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

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

          • Puppy Linux 5.1: Now Ubuntu Lucid Lynx package compatible

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

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Will HTC ‘Glacier’ Trigger Fastphone Wars?

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

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

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

        • Sony Planning PSP Phone, Android 3.0 Gaming Platform?

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

        • Open Source Rockbox audio software could be headed to Android

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

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

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

    • Tablets

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

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

        [...]

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

      • Axon Haptic Tablet Lets You Install Any OS

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

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

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

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

  • AMD quickly updates ATI Stream SDK to OpenCL 1.1

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

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

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

  • IT executives and developers on open source collision course

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

  • Open-source pitches developers against IT management

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

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

  • eZuce announces open source UC solution

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

  • Open source givers and takers

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

  • Flexibility Drives Open Source Adoption

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

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

  • Events

    • Big Picture Seminar Canberra: Richard Stallman

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

    • Open Source Technologies: Highlights from Linuxcon 2010

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

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

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

  • SaaS

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

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

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

  • Databases

    • Ingres CEO unfazed by Oracle’s MySQL play

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

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

  • Oracle

    • The Future of OpenSolaris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • CMS

  • Education

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

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

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

      [...]

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

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Virgin America CIO Lauds Open Source Savings

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

    • Open source software a frequent flier on Virgin America

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

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Academic Navel Gazing Continues

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

  • Project Releases

    • [Caml 3.12.0 Out]

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

    • WeeChat 0.3.3

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mapping Georgia From Scratch

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

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

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

  • Programming

Leftovers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Science

    • NASA team launches huge study into what causes hurricanes

      What makes a tropical depression turn into a hurricane?

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

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

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

  • Health

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • J.C. Penney cuts outlook on consumer weakness

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

    • German Economy Grows at a Fast Pace

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

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

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

    • Paralysis at the Fed

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Somewhere along the line, Elizabeth Warren became a symbol.

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Stallman slams filter as ‘human rights attack’

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • An open letter to my longtime friend Google

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

    • Net Neutrality Protest planned tomorrow at Google HQ

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity

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

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

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

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

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

Clip of the Day

WebGL in Firefox 4 and on Android


08.13.10

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning

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

  • Did Open Source Need Linux To Hit the Mainstream?

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Updated XGI Open-Source Graphics Driver Released

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

      • PhysX SDK Support Comes Back To Linux

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

      • AMD Releases New Stream SDK For Linux With OpenCL 1.1

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

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

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

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

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

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

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

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

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

  • Project Harmony Takes Aim at Open Source Contribution Agreements

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

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

  • VMware: Using Alfresco to Attack Microsoft SharePoint?

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

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

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

  • Open source already used in 80% of corporates

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

  • Databases

    • Sun, IBM and MySQL Storage Engine Chicanery

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

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

  • Business

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

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

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

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

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Organic Source Movement?

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

  • Project Releases

    • cURL 7.21.1 – New version released!

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s

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

      [...]

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

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Wheelchair Design Aids Disabled in Developing Nations

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

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Probe of Bribery at H-P Heats Up

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

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

  • Flattr Opens Beta of Its Micropayment Platform

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

  • Journalism Warning Labels

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

  • Health

    • CMD Calls For Federal Investigation of Health Insurers

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

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

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

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

  • Security/Aggression

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

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

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

    • Volunteers needed to man CCTV in Malmesbury

      Volunteers are needed to man a CCTV project in Malmesbury.

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

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

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

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

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

      Mr Khan responds: “But this is public.”

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

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

    • Health warnings on mobile phones..?

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

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

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

    • Peak oil is the villain governments need

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

    • Jellyfish sting hundreds on Costa Blanca beaches

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

  • Finance

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

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Progressives Up In Arms Over Brand Obama’s Insult

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

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

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Telecom Complaints Commissioner Remains a Relative Unknown

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

    • India threatens to suspend Blackberry by 31 August

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How to extract money for using copyrighted performances

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

      • The copyright cops

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

Clip of the Day

Android 3.0 – Gingerbread – Web API’s


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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

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

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

  • Linux is Political!

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

  • Desktop

    • Confessions of a Windows 7 to Ubuntu switcher

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

    • What Tweaks Could Make Linux Even Better?

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

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

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel.org shares some cute e-mails

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

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

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

    • Linux kernel report shows continued innovation. 2.6.36 coming soon

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

    • Linux Security, Then and Now

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

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

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

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

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

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

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

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

      • Two cool KDE Plasmoids

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

        [...]

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

      • KDE Reaches New Audiences in North America

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

      • How Much Faster Is Konqueror With WebKit?

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

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

      • Plasma: now comes in tablets

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

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

      • Stripes wallpaper

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

      • Distribution branding and Stripes

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

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots

      • Backtrack 4 R1 Screenshots

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

      • Salix OS 13.1.1 Screenshots

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

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Well, Fedora 14 Will Not Ship On Time

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

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 on Track for December Release

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

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

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

        • Why this Linux veteran runs Ubuntu

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

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

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

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

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

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 a big deal

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

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

      • Mozilla Looks Ahead to More Secure Firefox

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

  • Government

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Critical plant bank in danger

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

    • Greed vs. Survival: Which Prevails?

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Verizon and AT&T Ban BitTorrent On Wireless Networks

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Failure Takes Down Creative Commons Videos

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

Clip of the Day

Android vs iphone


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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Bedside PC features capacitive multi-touch

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

  • Kernel Space

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

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

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

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

  • Applications

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny ARM9 module ramps up to 400MHz

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

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

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

    • COM Express modules ride the Atom bandwagon

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

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Tactical handheld runs Android on Cortex-A8 SoC

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

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

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

        • Nexus One respun as Android Developer Phone

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

        • Xperia X10 Android phone comes stateside

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

        • Motorola goes glam with Korea-targeted Android phone

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • How the open source community could save your life

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

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

  • Forrester Analyst Says Open Source Has Won
  • Events

    • Highlights from Day 1 at LinuxCon 2010

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

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

  • SaaS

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Apertus Project Building an Open Course Cinema Camera for Filmmakers

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

Leftovers

  • Science

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

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

    • Calgary microchip ‘talks’ to brain cells

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

  • Security/Aggression

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

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

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

  • Finance

    • Maxine Waters Seeks Speedy Ethics Review

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

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

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

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

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

    • Market Drop Signals Fears About Global Recovery

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

    • Jobs picture dims as unemployment claims rise

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

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

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

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

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

    • Debt After Financial Crisis

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

    • U.S. Plans More Aid for Jobless Homeowners

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

    • How to jump-start American manufacturing

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

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

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Firefox 4 Beta 3 – Multitouch demo


08.12.10

Links 12/8/2010: MontaVista Meld Update, ‘$35 Tablet’ Demo

Posted in News Roundup at 1:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Jean Staten Healy: IBM’s Worldwide Linux Strategy

    In October of 2000, IBM CEO Louis Gerstner announced that the company would investing $1 billion in Linux development. This announcement came off the heels of two substantial developments in the industry. Google, unknown at the time, appeared with Linux servers in 1998, and Dell announced they would begin pre-installing Linux on select servers in 1999. A few years later in 2004, Big Blue made a formal declaration of sorts in a series of television commercials that culminated with a commercial that aired during Super Bowl XXXVIII, announcing their commitment to a partnership with the Linux community. While intended as a signal to their competitors and the market at large, the message had an unexpected effect on an unexpected audience. It was a celebration heard round the world. The underground community that was beginning to evolve around the Linux operating system had received a shot of notoriety in the arm. The global community of corporate giants had just validated the movement with this one very public endorsement. Then, just as quickly as it had happened, there was silence.

  • Server

    • Moving HPC Closer to The Desktop

      I’ll get back to my coverage of R real soon, but I wanted to continue my thoughts on Cloud HPC. In addition, one of the reasons I need to postpone this article again is my small personal Limulus cluster had to be been taken apart, measured, checked, and reassembled. I use this cluster to try things (like R) and develop software. I am working with a sheet metal fabricator on the next (and final) revision of case modifications. I also installed a new kernel that caused some USB issues. I resolved the issue by using a different cable, but the old kernel still works fine with both cables, go figure. Without USB I cannot control the power to the nodes (unless I rewire some things), so it was slow going for a while. In any case, I had more thoughts about Cloud HPC as well.

  • Google

    • Chrome 6 enters beta, provides more speed and features

      After quite a lot of Dev channel releases, the first Chrome 6 build to have a beta tag (v6.0.472.33) has been made available to the general public for testing and, why not, regular use. The Chrome 6 beta is up to 64% faster than the latest Chrome 5 release and it comes with added features too.

  • Kernel Space

    • Top challenges for Linux kernel team outlined at LinuxCon

      Linux Foundation fellow and new Google hire Ted Ts’o — who is said to be the first Linux kernel developer in North America – said the kernel is as robust these days as any other Unix kernel or any OS kernel out there.

      Yet he sees scalability as one significant challenge for the Linux kernel (all kernels, really) with the “advent of very large numbers of CPUs on a chip. “We thought scalability was largely solved two years ago,” but multicore processing will impose more stringest demands going forward, he said, pointing out that low end laptops will boast 16 to 32 cores in no time.

    • Qualcomm Pushes For Less Linux Fragmentation

      Linux is broadly available on mobile devices, but competing implementations could lead to problems down the road for developers and confusion for customers, according to a Qualcomm executive.

      “There is some fragmentation and that’s a challenge. There is no mobile equivalent of x86,” said Rob Chandhok, president of the Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC), a division of chip and mobile phone technology provider Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM). “There is a plethora of different configurations for different handsets.

    • Announcing the LinuxCon Just for Fun Poll Winners!

      Today we’re announcing the results of our LinuxCon 2010 Just for Fun Poll. A couple of weeks ago we asked you, the Linux.com community, to vote for your picks in a variety of categories that complemented the focus of LinuxCon: development, IT operations and business. And, we threw some in “just for fun,” too. The multiple choice responses were determined by our Linux.com writers and appeared to be just about the right, since none of our write-ins received as many votes as the existing choices.

    • Btrfs, EXT4 & ZFS On A Solid-State Drive

      With the benchmarks recently looking at the performance of ZFS on FreeBSD versus EXT4/Btrfs on Linux having generated much interest and a very long discussion, this morning we are back with more benchmarks when running ZFS on FreeBSD/PC-BSD 8.1 and Btrfs and EXT4 on an Ubuntu Linux 10.10 snapshot with the most recent kernel, but this time the disk benchmarking is being done atop a high-performance solid-state drive courtesy of OCZ Technology and the CPU is an Intel Core i7. The drive being tested across these three leading file-systems is the OCZ Vertex 2 that promises maximum reads up to 285MB/s, maximum writes up to 275MB/s, and sustained writes up to 250MB/s.

    • Graphics Stack

      • [RFC] Multitouch protocol specification v1

        Below is the first public draft of the multitouch protocol specification, part of the future X Input Extension version 2.1. Earlier versions of this draft have been sent around in private and I’d like to thank Chase Douglas, Carlos Garnacho, Rafi Rubin, Henrik Rydberg, and Daniel Stone for their feedback during this cycle.

      • NVIDIA Puts Out More X Sync Object Patches

        Back in June there were patches published by NVIDIA for X Synchronization Fences after it was in planning since before last year’s X Developers’ Summit.

      • ATI Radeon R600 Mesa Classic Driver Can Do OpenGL 2.1

        As many people have been quick to report out today in the forums, on Phoronix IRC, and via email, the ATI R600 Mesa DRI driver for the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphics cards now properly advertises OpenGL 2.1 / GL Shading Language 1.20 support.

      • Nouveau In Linux 2.6.36 Has NVIDIA Fermi Mode-Setting

        What is most interesting about this second Direct Rendering Manager pull request for the Linux 2.6.36 kernel is what’s brought on the side of the Nouveau driver: kernel mode-setting support for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 “Fermi” series. While the GeForce GTX 470/480 graphics cards were launched back in March and greeted by support within NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver, up to this point there has been no open-source support.

      • AMD Gets Back To Working On The Geode Linux Driver

        Martin-Éric Racine has just announced the release candidate of the X.Org Geode 2.11.9 driver in preparations for the X.Org 7.6 Katamari. The AMD Geode driver is not to be confused with the AMD/ATI Radeon drivers for Linux, but rather this is the driver Geode GX and Geode LX embedded SoC such as what’s used by the One-Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. When announcing this driver, Martin-Éric has shared that AMD engineers are back to actually contributing work towards this driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Aldacom Offers GPS/Linux PC/GPRS Breadboard

      Aldacom GmbH, of Neu-Isenburg, Germany, recently announced the debut of the AldaLogic C10/3, a breadboard containing an embedded Linux PC on a surface measuring 104 x 63 millimeters.

    • MontaVista Software Launches Meld 2.0 Next Generation Community for Developers of Embedded Linux Devices

      MontaVista(R) Software, LLC, a leader in embedded Linux(R) commercialization, today announced the launch of Meld 2.0, the next generation of the embedded Linux community sponsored by MontaVista. Meld is an active community for all developers of embedded Linux devices. The next-generation Meld introduces a new look and feel to the community along with a new URL, meld.org, making it easier for users to connect and share information on embedded Linux design challenges.

    • MontaVista revamps Linux community website

      MontaVista Software has announced the launch of the latest release of its Meld online embedded Linux community.

    • Phones

      • Chrome OS vs WebOS

        Earlier on last week we examined the startling similarities between Google’s Chrome OS and Jolicloud. Of-course Chrome OS hasn’t even been released yet, but I felt it more than fitting to compare the two operating systems by virtue of the purpose that they either serve or will attempt to serve in the future.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nokia N900 Giving A Good Run For Its Money To Blackberries

          It is the one smartphone device that is sure to give you the computer like experience and that too it work on the ultra fast Linux based software. The Nokia N900, for all practical purposes is a next generation phone device only.

        • A new OS hits version 1.0

          I have another Linux-based OS, Ubuntu, installed that uses its own bootloader. Jolicloud showed up as a second option in the Windows bootloader after that. When I chose it, it completed installation and setup of a user account — pretty standard for any Linux-based OS. It got weird when it demanded that, before anything else, I connect to the Internet. It takes this cloud computing thing pretty seriously! Fortunately, it recognized my wireless network hardware and connected to my home router once I gave it the proper credentials.

      • Android

        • Motorola’s pumped-up Droid 2 ships Thursday

          The Droid 2 — successor to the Motorola Droid phone that helped amp up adoption of Android-based phones — will be available from Verizon Wireless for online pre-order Wednesday, and available in Verizon stores Thursday. The phone costs $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and signing a two-year contract.

        • Vodafone backs down in Android row

          Phone giant Vodafone has backed down in a row with customers over software updates for Google Android phones.

          Last week, many customers who own HTC Desire smartphones were prompted to download a software update which they believed was an upgrade to Android.

          Instead it installed irremovable Vodafone-branded apps and bookmarks, including links to dating sites.

        • Top 10 Android Tablets: Dell Streak Pricing, Sale Date Set

          Google’s open source mobile platform Android just surpassed Apple’s iOS in the smartphone operating system market in terms of sales for the second quarter, and the next big battleground looks to be the tablet market — where Android-based mobile devices will come up against Apple’s impressive iPad.

          Right now the only readily available Android tablet is the Archos 7 Home Tablet, a low cost 7-inch, touchscreen device with no accelerometer and an outdated resistive touchscreen that lacks the ability to download and run mobile apps from the Android Market.

        • Dell Streak will launch this week in U.S.

          Dell announced that it will take pre-orders for its Dell Streak Android tablet on Thursday, with sales beginning the next day. Selling for $300 with a new two-year AT&T contract, and $550 without, the Dell Streak is as much a large phone as it is a tablet, offering voice telephony as well as a five-inch, WVGA display.

        • Android 3 plans ahead

          Most Android users are only now upgrading to version 2.2 of Google’s mobile phone operating system but with version 3.0 expected in October, it’s worth taking a look at what to expect.

          Google’s Android continues to go from strength to strength and is now regularly compared to Apple’s iPhone as the real competitor to that platform. And although already very capable the next version of Android, 3.0, promises to be significantly better.

        • Launching Android Apps
    • Tablets

      • Early take on India’s $35 tablet: ‘Fairly impressive’

        Remember that $35 tablet out of India we told you about last month? If you want to see the much-talked-about prototype in moving color, a gadget show on Indian television just featured an exclusive hands-on that could help dissipate some of the skepticism about the device.

        “Everybody actually said, ‘It cannot happen, a $35 tablet,’ and not only does it exist, it works and it works brilliantly,” said Rajiv Makhni, co-host of the show “Gadget Guru,” who took the computer through its paces with show cohort Vikram Chandra and then talked all aspects of the gadget with Kapil Sibal, the country’s Minister for Human Resource Development and the same guy who officially unveiled the super-cheap touch-screen device. Aimed at the country’s students, it’s being called India’s answer to Nicholas Negroponte’s famed OLPC laptop.

      • India’s $35 Tablet is No Vaporware
      • Media unveils Indian laptop @ Rs 1500
      • $35 laptop in India a reality
      • India’s $35 Tablet is No Vaporware

        If you thought the Indian HRD ministry’s attempt at making that $35 (Rs. 1,500) laptop is pure government fantasy and the usual pep talk we see from the Indian government, be ready to be surprised. Not only does the tablet exist in a prototype form, it actually works pretty well – and how!

      • $35 Tablet makes an appearance on Indian TV (video)

        The Gadget Gurus, the Subcontinent’s answer to The Engadget Show, got a special hands-on with that $35 Tablet PC the world’s been buzzing about — delivered by none other than India’s Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal himself. While constantly referring to “the $35 laptop” (we guess you could hold it in your lap) Mr. Sibal gave us the following info: it sports 2GB RAM, WiFI and 3G, microSD storage, and it runs the Android OS. Additionally, it rocks video out and a webcam — in short,

      • HP preps Android e-reader as WebOS tablet pushes to 2011

        Hewlett-Packard (HP) is preparing a “Zeen” Android e-reader that interfaces with a new HP printer, says an industry report. Meanwhile, HP has postponed its WebOS-based “Hurricane” tablet to 1Q 2011, and the company — beleaguered by the recent resignation of CEO Mark Hurd — lost the lead designer of the WebOS-based Palm Pre, say reports.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Linux compliance program a response to surging open-source use

    The Open Compliance Program announced by the Linux Foundation on Tuesday is a response to the surging growth in the use of open-source technologies within enterprises, and by makers of consumer electronic and mobile devices, analysts say.

    Much of the program appears to be directed at addressing what many analysts said is continuing confusion among makers of embedded devices about open-source licensing requirements. But enterprises can benefit from the program as well, they added.

    The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit group that is focused on fostering Linux growth, announced a set of open-source tools, training materials and a self-assessment checklist designed to help companies comply with open-source license requirements.

  • Zenoss Releases 2010 Open Source Systems Management Survey Report

    Reveals flexibility, not cost, drives open source systems management adoption

  • Events

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Charges Into Desktop Virtualization With VDI 3.2

      Oracle is expanding the role it seeks to play in enterprise virtualization by augmenting a former Sun Microsystems approach to desktop virtualization, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, now in release 3.2.

      Oracle VDI 3.2 is a comprehensive approach, starting with a virtualized host, standardized desktop images that run on a server and provide services to end users, which includes delivery of high performance multimedia, such as video and graphics. In addition, it includes a management console, explained Wim Coekaerts, senior VP of Linux and Virtualization Engineering. “This is the first major release of VDI branded with the Oracle look and feel. Oracle is thoroughly committed to the desktop virtualization space,” Coekaerts said in an interview.

    • Oracle launches new version of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

      Oracle has launched Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.2, which provides a complete management, hosting and access offerings for virtualised desktops hosted in the datacenter.

  • Project Releases

    • My first post, introducing iX.

      To start with I’d like to thank Martin from #iphonelinux for not only setting up our wordpress blog but also for sponsoring the domain. The purpose of this blog is to document the progress of building iX prior to it’s release.

    • opentaps 1.5M1 Released

      There are also some other important enhancements, including a more extensible domains directory for the domains driven architecture, new configuration entities, and configurable security for opentaps that I wrote about in my last quarterly update. Finally, this version includes the full set of new Chinese translations for opentaps.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Are citizens ready for Open Data and Government?

        Data is raw input to economic initiatives just like money or labour, in the sense that it can have the same or greater economic value. Opening public data may be enough to foster many economic activities, because that’s all the single, very few entrepreneurs or activists who already wanted those data need. When it comes to transparency in government or relations between citizens and politicians, open data work in practice only if many, many people actually study and process them. But today much, much less people are already prepared to accept and use raw data than blog posts, TV debates or other kinds of inputs. This is a point that has been recently raised by others:

        * The Literacy Challenge of Open Data: “We need a data-literate citizenry, not just a small elite of hackers and policy wonks”
        * From Gov 1.0 to Gov 2.0: a change in users, too: study demonstrates that current (Italian) Web 2.0 users are not interested in eGovernment”

Leftovers

  • Department for Communities paid for massages, chauffeurs and trip to Blackpool pleasure beach

    The breakdown revealed that the government offices for the regions ran up bills of more than £100,000 on market research and polling last year.

    The department also spent more than £1,600 on massages for staff and £539 on an awayday trip to Blackpool pleasure beach.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Unprecedented warming in Lake Tanganyika and its impact on humanity

      Lake Tanganyika, in East Africa, is the second largest lake in the world (by volume). The lake supports a prodigious sardine fishery which provides a major source of animal protein for the region as well as employment for around 1 million people. Direct observations over past 90 years find that Lake Tanganyika has warmed significantly. At the same time, there’s been a drop in primary productivity in the lake impacting sardine populations. To further explore this matter, geologists took lake cores to determine the lake’s surface temperature back to 500 AD (Tierney 2010). They found that warming in the last century is unprecedented over the last 1500 years.

    • Is climate change burning Russia?

      Russia has sweltered under an intense heatwave since mid-July, recording its highest ever temperatures. The heat has caused widespread drought, ruined crops and encouraged wildfires that have blanketed Moscow in smog and now threaten key nuclear sites. According to the head of Moscow’s health department, the city’s daily death rate has doubled – up to 700 from the usual average of 360 to 380.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Prior Restraint Lives: Newspaper Blocked From Publishing Photo of Murder Suspect

      We’re not sure what’s more alarming: that a local California judge has barred the Los Angeles Times from publishing lawfully obtained photos of a murder defendant, or that an appeals court has just decided not to immediately reverse this clear exercise of prior restraint.

      Prior restraint smacks at the heart of the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has never tolerated it, even in the 1971 “Pentagon Papers” case. Then, the justices refused to block The New York Times from publishing sensitive documents concerning the nation’s involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.

    • Social networking: The good, the bad & the ugly
    • GUADEC: Danny O’Brien on privacy, encryption, and the desktop

      Journalist and digital rights activist Danny O’Brien came to GUADEC to try to educate GNOME hackers about the threats facing journalists, their computers, and their online communication from governments and organized crime. But free software can help, so he wanted to outline the features that he thinks could be added to desktops to help secure them and protect the privacy of all users, not just journalists. Part of his job as internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is to talk to internet developers and “persuade them to think about how journalists in repressive regimes are affected” by the choices those developers make.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music Festival Producer Pre-Sues Bootleggers

        Ah, pre-crime. THREsq has a worrisome story of a couple of recent lawsuits by concert producers pre-suing potential bootleggers claiming trademark infringement. Yes, they’re claiming trademark infringement for something that hasn’t happened yet, and simply listing out hundreds of John Doe and Jane Does who can later be filled in. As a part of this, they’re getting law enforcement involved by using the lawsuit to ask the court to order US Marshalls, local and state police and even off-duty officers to go ahead and seize and impound the bootlegged material.

      • How Many Times Will Content Industries Claim The Sky Is Falling Before People Stop Believing Them?

        There isn’t necessarily anything new in the paper. Many of you probably know all of these stories, and they’ve been discussed at length over the years in posts and comments here on Techdirt. However, it’s nice to put a bunch of them together in a single document just to highlight the same pattern over and over again:

        1. New technology
        2. Legacy industry freaks out saying the world is ending
        3. Industry flocks to DC & the courts to demand fixing
        4. Turns out that the new technology actually increases the market

      • Is the Sky Falling on the Content Industries?

        Content owners claim they are doomed, because in the digital environment, they can’t compete with free. But they’ve made such claims before. This short essay traces the history of content owner claims that new technologies will destroy their business over the last two centuries. None have come to pass. It is likely the sky isn’t falling this time either. I suggest some ways content may continue to thrive in the digital environment.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Diputados 2008


Links 12/8/2010: Jolicloud Reviews, OLPC Deployments in the Philippines

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • A Fund Manager Tries To Figure Out Whether Microsoft’s Business Will Collapse

      I have now changed my laptop to a linux (Ubuntu) machine and run a piece of software (Virtual Box) on it. Virtual Box is a program which pretends it is another computer – a virtual computer. On virtual box I run Windows. This is – I believe – a superior set-up and it is unlikely I will ever run a machine primarily on Microsoft again. I will explain why more fully below – but first I just wish to make a simple observation… if I take the hard drive out of my laptop and install it in my old laptop everything works just fine – the whole computer is functional. If I tried to do that with a windows operating system it would fail. This is likely to be important in the future of computing because I will be able to migrate my computer from a laptop to the cloud – or possibly onto my (linux powered) phone. It is unbelievably useful to have a hardware-independent computer.

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon: What Is the Future of Linux Development?

      Where exactly is the Linux kernel heading?

      Here at the LinuxCon conference, a panel of Linux kernel developers from Red Hat, Google, Novell and Oracle discussed what’s next for the ecosystem, and why not every kernel debuts with a big new feature.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Working On The X.Org 7.6 Katamari

        If all goes according to plan, X.Org Server 1.9 will be released in about two weeks, but after that there still is the X.Org 7.6 release “katamari” to be done. While X.Org releases themselves aren’t as important any longer with the X Server releases being done at different points and the rest of the X.Org package collection being modular, the X.Org 7.6 release is expected in October.

        Alan Coopersmith, the X.Org wrangler at Sun/Oracle, has done some X.Org 7.6 planning on the xorg-devel mailing list. On the date of the xorg-server 1.9 release, which is scheduled on the 20th of August but could potentially slip by a few days, all driver and protocol updates needed for the 1.9 release should also have been released. At this point, Alan would also like the first release candidate of Xlib 1.4.0 to be tagged.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Canonical Isn’t Looking to Fork GNOME–Why Should It?

        Indeed, Canonical has no need to fork GNOME and enhancements to a user interface don’t represent a fork. Look at Android. Motorola has its own MotoBlur interface that sits on top of the OS, but users are still running Android underneath.

        Recently, we reported that Red Hat is in fact the largest contributor to GNOME–an environment that the company has a stake in. It’s not surprising to see Canonical experiment with how to treat GNOME, but it would be completely surprising for the company to choose to do an actual fork. Why? GNOME is a very well-done environment that will only increase in popularity, and it’s a user interface, where having users comfortable with it is part of its attraction.

  • Distributions

    • Booting Linux With the New EXTLINUX

      If you’ve ever run a Linux LiveCD (or LiveUSB), or booted from a rescue disk, you’ve probably used a version of SYSLINUX, even if you didn’t know it at the time. SYSLINUX, the work of H. Peter Anvin, is a bootloader for Linux which can boot from an MS-DOS FAT filesystem or create a bootable floppy (very old-school!); its close cousin ISOLINUX handles booting from CDs and similar media. SYSLINUX has always been enormously useful for first-time installs, when you’re often booting from a machine that is currently running Windows, but until fairly recently, you had to switch to another bootloader post-install, since SYSLINUX doesn’t handle ext* filesystems. However, EXTLINUX, a fairly recent addition to the Syslinux Project, does handle these filesystems (see below), giving another boot option besides GRUB and LILO for Linux systems.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open Source Gets Major Boost In India

        Wipro has become the first Red Hat Premier Partner in India. The two companies have strengthened their strategic partnership through joint marketing and integration opportunities designed to bring open source solutions to enterprises across the subcontinent.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • VMware packs Zimbra into virtual appliance

          Making a virtual appliance is not that big a deal, but VMware faced some particular challenges in putting Zimbra in a virtual shrink wrapper to distribute it in a virtualized appliance format. For one thing, most of VMware’s customers are running Windows server operating systems, but Zimbra runs on Linux.

          In the case of the virtual appliance version of Zimbra Collaboration Suite, the Linux in question is a distribution of Ubuntu. But SMB shops that use Windows don’t want to learn Linux, and VMware didn’t want to port ZCS to Windows, either.

        • Canonical explain the new Ubuntu census package

          The canonical-census package was created for a specific, but undisclosed, OEM customer of Canonical. It will be up to that customer as to whether or not they reveal the results of the data collection, says Spencer, and future plans for canonical-census beyond this one OEM have not been made, but if the scheme works well, it could be considered as an option at the next Ubuntu Developer Summit to provide data to the community.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 [Review]

          You can probably use the OS for years, and never know what a command line parameter is. Quite simply one of the easiest to use Linux distros right out of the box, Canonical has seriously upped the ante and made an OS that can be enjoyed both for its simplicity and capability by anyone, geek or average consumer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Can’t Linux and Android Just Get Along?

          Make no mistake about it: Open source developers can be a very passionate bunch.

          At the LinuxCon conference, the topic of why Google Android code is not part of Linux was the subject of some intense discussion. One such discussion became so heated that a panelist wound up telling a combative audience member to “shut up” before asking them to leave.

        • Exclusive: Sony Ericsson to introduce Android 3.0 gaming platform and PSP Go-like smartphone

          There’s no question that gaming on the Android platform has heretofore been relatively underwhelming, but that looks like it’s all about to change. It seems that Sony Ericsson — a company that has yet to even introduce an Android 2.0 device — is at work on a project to redefine gaming on Google’s mobile platform. We now know (via a trusted source) that the company is actively and heavily developing a brand new gaming platform, ecosystem, and device (possibly alongside Google) which are already in the late stages of planning. And we’ve got the goods on it.

    • Jolicloud

      • Riding the Jolicloud – The perfect netbook partner?

        The particularly interesting aspect of this OS is that the main guts of it are located on hosted servers. Almost everything is based inside the browser which is like an open source version of Google Chrome (called Chromium).

      • Jolicloud Launches – Free Cloud Computing-based OS for Netbooks

        Jolicloud 1.0 just became available as a free download. This is the very first free cloud computing-based OS. As expected, Jolicloud is based on Linux and features an HTML user interface.

      • JoliCloud Version 1.0 Is Now Available For Your Netbook
      • Being jolly on the cloud

        Jolicloud 1.0 is another Linux distribution that just released its first full version after several months of being in beta. What makes this different from the other Linux distributions available out there is that it integrates both native applications with web-based applications that looks like native apps. If that sounded familiar, well, it should if you tried Google’s ChromeOS or if you have use the pre-iTunes App Store iPhone and iPod Touch — where you save web-apps on the launcher and it looks like a native app.

        Installing Linux distributions has gone a long way – from dozens of 3.5” diskettes to multiple CDs and to single DVDs. And now, you simple click a few buttons and that’s it – a few minutes later, you have a brand-spanking-new Linux desktop. The same can be said of Jolicloud. However, Jolicloud differs in one aspect — post-install, you need to register at Jolicloud.com for an account.

    • OLPC

      • Put Your Unused XO Laptop to Good Use in a Boston School

        Wondering what to do with your old XO laptop now that the novelty has worn off? Consider donating it to the Digital Literacy Project (DigLit) and put a computer you’re no longer using into the hands of an elementary school student in one of two schools within the Boston Public School system.

      • olpc deployment in the philippines

        just got a mail from adam holt, the olpc community support manager. olpc-affiliated filipino community group ekindling.org is looking for anyone with strong open source/sysadmin/teaching skills who could help on the ground deploying XOs and Sugar for an organized laptop deployment (100 XO-1.5s) beginning around september or october in the philippines.

    • Tablets

      • Seven-inch Android tablet ships in Germany

        Smartbook AG is shipping a seven-inch, 800 x 480 tablet computer for the German market equipped with Android 2.1. The Smartbook Surfer runs on a Telechips TTC8902 processor clocked to 720MHz, and offers 256MB of DDR2 memory, 2GB of flash, 802.11b/g, optional GPS, and a webcam, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • BonitaSoft’s Bonita Open Solution 5.2: An Essential Toolkit for BPM

    With its roots in Eclipse and Java, BOS 5.2 boasts broad platform support, and runs on Linux, Windows and OS X. I tested the studio application on CentOS 5.5, Fedora 13 and Ubuntu 10.04, with good results across the board.

  • Forrester: Congratulations Open Sourcers, You’re on the Winning Team
  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Programming

    • How Companies Can Keep their Programmers Happy

      There’s an important corollary here. Hackers, by their very nature, like playing with code, and the easiest/best/most satisfying way to do that is to play with open source code, and to share it with other hackers for feedback and kudos. As a result, many of the best hackers tend to be found either in the free software community, or at least aligned with many of its ideas.

      Graham’s argument about the centrality of hackers to any company that needs good software therefore implies that free software is something that should be deployed at least internally – not just because of its own, evident virtues, but because it will help to keep those crucial hackers happy, and to attract more of the same. It’s an approach that is certainly much cheaper than trying to bribe them to stay despite the unhackerish software they are forced to use.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Exit costs of lock-in: Anticipate or it’s too late!

      Understanding switching costs is definitely lacking in today’s discussion. That’s why people are locked in to proprietary standards, and have to pay astronomically high prices to decrypt their very own data back to ‘raw data’, to make it suitable for input in another program. Lot’s of people don’t see proprietary standards for what it is: Encrypting your data while you don’t have the key to decrypt it. Those people fail to note those exit costs of a platform are related to their very own choice of ‘entering’ that platform to begin with, and not related to the choice of migrating to another platform.

      That’s why requiring open standards matters: It’s another way of requiring your own data not to be encrypted too much. Another way to require a supplier to enable you to retrieve your own raw data without infringing their intellectual property (monopoly? and being sued by them.

Leftovers

  • The Made-To-Order revolution: custom flexible manufacturing is here
  • Security/Aggression

    • Criminal damage fine for painting garden fence

      A COUPLE who painted their side of a garden fence were shocked to be given a fine for criminal damage after a neighbour complained.

    • Smart Meters Will Be Hacked, Warn Researchers
    • ContactPoint database was ‘surrogate ID card for children’, says minister

      Labour’s controversial child protection database has been switched off, with a minister dismissing it as a “surrogate ID card scheme”.

    • ASA watchdog bans ‘offensive’ anti-terror hotline radio advert

      Britain’s eccentrics, recluses and misanthropes, you can relax. Ignoring neighbours and keeping your curtains permanently shut to the world outside might not win you many friends, but you’re no longer likely to be denounced as a possible terrorist.

      A radio advert that urged listeners to consider calling the police’s anti-terrorist hotline if they had suspicions about local people who avoided company, kept their windows covered and eschewed bank cards for cash has been banned for potentially causing “serious offence”.

    • This Bedford story just gets worse and worse

      Putting aside the cost to the taxpayer (I’d say that these councils spend money like drunken sailors, but it’s an insult to drunken sailors who are at least spending their own money), what on earth does this mean..? Does it mean that people can use public facilities to snoop on who’s using particular car parks? To conduct surveillance on their neighbours, their “friends”, their co-workers, their spouses suspected of adultery..? Does it mean that people can scope out car parks to see what vehicles are there worth nicking? Can people read the numberplates on the cars (presumably so)? The list of infuriating possibilities is endless…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Moscow death rate doubles as smoke from wildfires shrouds capital

      Oppressive heat and waves of toxic smog in Moscow has seen the death rate reach 700 a day – twice the normal rate, a senior Russian health official said today.

      “The mortality rate has doubled,” said Andrei Seltsovsky, head of the city’s health department. There were usually 360 to 380 deaths a day in the city, but “now that number is about 700″.

    • Moscow wildfires fanned by Soviet legacy of neglect

      How did the new forest law make things worse?

      The function of forest protection completely disappeared, with no human or technical resources allocated to it whatsoever. It was no longer a federal mission and central management was dropped.

    • Greenland ice sheet faces ‘tipping point in 10 years’

      “Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive,” Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet.

      The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.

      “What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done,” he said.

  • Finance

    • House prices fall as spending cuts see economy stall

      Government austerity measures are already plunging the British economy into reverse according to figures published today which reveal sagging high street sales and renewed falls in house prices.

      Expectations of widespread job cuts in the public sector have begun to discourage households from moving home or buying “big ticket” items such as furniture and carpets, with spending going on essential items and replacements only, said the British Retail Consortium. One of the worst-hit sectors is big-screen flat televisions, where sales have slowed markedly, but the BRC also noted year-on-year falls in items such as shoes. It said that high street sales are running 0.5% higher than last year on a like-for-like basis, with the small rise largely due to food price inflation. “Talk of public spending cuts is unsettling consumers and they are concentrating on essentials,” said the BRC director general, Stephen Robertson.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Abacus Investigations Continue

      Two more regulating bodies, the U.S.-based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and UK-based Financial Services Authority (FSA), are still probing into the bank’s failure to disclose to its investors a Wells notice that the SEC had handed it in early 2009– an entire year before the SEC’s lawsuit in April 2010.

    • Capmark Creditors Ask Court’s Permission to Sue Citigroup, Goldman Sachs

      Capmark Financial Group Inc.’s creditors sought court permission to sue Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. over a $1.5 billion loan made to the commercial property lender.

    • Goldman ‘Should Win Big’ Under New Regulations

      Contrary to first impressions, the new financial reform law could help rather than hinder Goldman Sachs, The Los Angeles Times reported.

    • Goldman Sachs could be largely unaffected by financial overhaul

      One of the most talked-about changes facing Wall Street is the end to proprietary trading. A number of banks were already scaling back their proprietary trading operations because of losses incurred during the financial crisis. Citigroup and JPMorgan are said to be looking at moving employees in those operations to other trading functions, as Goldman has started to do.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google executive buys ‘spy drone’ amid claims it will be used for Street View

      Sven Juerss, the chief executive of Microdrones GmbH, a German firm which built the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), said he expects to provide “dozens” more in the future.

      However, Google has moved swiftly to deny that the purchase was for company use – Peter Barron, a spokesman for the firm’s UK office, told the Telegraph: “Google is not testing or using this technology. This was a purchase by a Google executive with an interest in robotics for personal use.”

    • Why should companies be allowed to sue for libel?

      Should companies be able to sue for libel? The recently launched Lord Lester libel reform bill includes a provision that companies would have to show substantial financial loss before being able to sue. The House of Commons select committee for culture, media and sport has also called for fundamental reform of libel law in respect of corporate reputation, while many Australian states have limited actions in libel to companies with fewer than 10 employees.

      But to the conventionally minded English lawyer there is no question that companies should be able to sue for libel. After all, companies are “legal persons” – and in English law, personality goes a very long way. The view is that if “natural persons” can sue for libel then so can companies.

    • Malaysian blogger continues attacks from his UK base

      When Raja Petra Kamarudin, one of Malaysia’s best-known bloggers, heard he was to be detained without trial for the third time last February, he decided to flee the country. He was already facing sedition and criminal defamation charges after publishing a string of stories that linked the prime minister Najib Razak and his wife to the gruesome murder of a beautiful Mongolian translator, Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, in 2006.

      While Raja Petra says he was prepared to fight those charges in court, he was not willing to face detention without trial again under the country’s draconian Internal Security Act. “Under the ISA, they bypass the court process entirely,” says the blogger, whose Malaysia Today website regularly exposes the abuses of power that blight the south-east Asian nation. “If I’d let them get me a third time, I would have been a glutton for punishment.”

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech 2009


Links 12/8/2010: KDE Integrates Webkit, Android Popularity Soars

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Users and Developers in FOSS

    Want to hear some­thing inter­est­ing? The often made claim that “there are no dis­tinc­tions between devel­op­ers and users” is at worst a lie and at best mis­in­for­ma­tion. What it actu­ally means is that if you really don’t like some­thing about a pro­gram you have the code and can change it your­self. What the impli­ca­tion though is that if you have an issue with a pro­gram you can con­tribute these thoughts to the devel­op­ers and be taken seri­ously — which pretty much is never the case. The real­ity of the mat­ter is that unless you are will­ing to actu­ally code the fix your­self it sim­ply wont get done and even then you have no guar­an­tee of it actu­ally being included. On aver­age you have more chance of being lis­tened to by closed source devel­op­ers as their suc­cess is finan­cially linked with your usage.

    [...]

    The very fact that no efforts are made to find out what your users think and what prob­lems they are hav­ing is dis­turb­ing enough, actively putting road­blocks in their path is just mad­ness. After all the only peo­ple who make it through this trial-by-fire are going to be the most tena­cious pro-Linux advo­cates. Of course they think everything’s hunky dory and dis­pute what I say, it’s the very def­i­n­i­tion of selec­tion bias — the unhappy peo­ple all left a long time ago.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • AWN Ekes Out a Win in the Battle of the Dock Apps

      GNOME Do and Docky aren’t the only options Linux users have if they want to install a dock-style launcher on their systems. Two others, Avant Window Navigator and SimDock, are also in the running. While AWN has its faults and frustrations, it narrowly beats out GNOME Do on style points. SimDock, on the other hand, just doesn’t measure up to either.

    • Proprietary

      • Adobe Still Shafts Linux With H.264 GPU Decoding

        Adobe rolled out a security update to their Flash Player yesterday and for Mac OS X users this update also integrates Gala — their codename for H.264 GPU video decoding in Flash on Mac OS X. With Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 on Apple Mac OS X there is now GPU video decoding enabled by default to offload more of the playback work to the graphics card, assuming you are using a newer NVIDIA graphics processor. This is coming after Adobe introduced H.264 GPU decoding in their Windows Flash Player 10.1 release, but they continue to shaft Linux users with video support.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Chzo Mythos For GNU/Linux Released !

        Hamish Paul Wilson started let me know of his porting of The Chzo Mythos to GNU/Linux at May 2010, and updated me on his progress at June 2010, now finally the porting is done and The Chzo Mythos is available for GNU/Linux free of charge !

      • 5 More Linux Games You Probably Haven’t Played

        They are available for purchase and download right over the Internet (often DRM-free), and some of them are pretty high quality. Here are five more you might not have played but are definitely worth giving a try.

      • Quake2 engine day ;)

        Ok, today I have quite a lot of stuff, and its all Quake2 related :p Believe it or not Quake2 is alive and kicking… and its engine is featuring some of the very best open-source games!

        For those who might have missed it: AlienArena 7.45 has been released recently and the release makes an already solid game even more awesome ;)

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE desktop integrates Webkit

        THE DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT KDE has been updated with over 1,700 new features and 16,000 bug fixes.

        The cross platform application project best known for its desktop environment that is shipped by many Linux distributions has issued this major update a month after the rival project Gnome put one out. The latest KDE update features integration with Webkit in applications such as Konqueror, the default KDE web browser.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell is Evolving Quite Beautifully

        After giving it a spin for a few hours, GNOME Shell never really felt like a complete disaster for me. It works quite well in my 3 year old laptop with basic configuration. Though GNOME Shell still leaves a lot to be desired, you have to keep in mind that GNOME Shell is a still a work in progress.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux light – Absolute Linux 13.1

        Absolute Linux seems to get frequent updates and while writing this update 13.1.4 was already released on 30/07/2010 (Update: On 08/08/2010 apparently 13.1.41 was released). These incorporate the latest updates from Slackware but when looking at the Changelog on the website seem mostly small Absolute usability updates and bug fixes. This makes for the impression that it is always a bit of a moving target and never ‘quite right’ at release time, which begs the question why the developer does not rather wait a few days longer and release less often.

      • Vector Linux 6.0 “SOHO” Screenshots

        A deluxe version of Vector Linux 6.0 “SOHO” is due out in 10 days and will cost $22.99 on the Vector Linux website. This is something Vector Linux started doing during the 5.9 release. I like the idea of having a deluxe version available for convenience. Make sure you check out the Lighter version of Vector Linux which are lightweight, fast, and great on old hardware. Enjoy these screenshots of Vector Linux 6.0 SOHO edition.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 [Review]

        Except for office applications we couldn’t complain about the packages that came with the OS. For instance in the internet and communications domain PC Linux came with a browser (Firefox), a twitter client (Choqok), an IM client (Pidgin), mail client (Thunderbird), torrent and even Dropbox ! There was no office suite bundled and the text editor (KWrite) was pathetic. At least AbiWord would’ve raised the score a little above the zero that we gave it on this criteria. The main menu was well categorised but a Mepis or Mint-like search would’ve been better. Although a nice addition was the displaying of recently used applications. Kwallet – the default password keeper integrates into all programs that require logins. We checked randomly for codec support and found that SM Player could handle all of the different encoded video files we threw at it. The default music player was Amarok which does what it’s supposed to quite well. For file managers there was a choice between Dolphin and Conqueror – nothing spectacular.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Licensing

          Copyright licensing and trademarks are two different areas of law, and we consider them separately in Ubuntu. The following policy applies only to copyright licences. We evaluate trademarks on a case-by-case basis.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • War of the Peppermint Gargantuas

            The combination of Chromium and the Ice SSB edges out (barely) Peppermint OS One. It’s not a big enough difference that you could go wrong using Peppermint OS One, but the Chromium/Ice SSB combination was just fast enough to warrant using Peppermint Ice.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ludwig Enterprises’ The One(TM) to be “Open Source”

      Ludwig Enterprises, Inc. (Pink Sheets:LUDG) board of directors announces that TheOne(TM) receiver will utilize Linux as its base operating software. This architecture will allow applications from other application developers to operate in TheOne(TM) radio. Applications such as jpeg viewer, media players, web mail, foxfire and others may be utilized. Rather than restrict or block outside applications Ludwig welcomes collaborative input from independent application developers resulting in rapid evolution of superior software. A report by the Standish Group states that adoption of Open Source software models has resulted in savings of approximately $60 Billion per year to consumers.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Open source CouchDB comes to Android

          Mobile syncing remains a vital task that few really get right, but the open source NoSQL initiative aims to fill the gap, at least on Android. CouchDB, the open source database that is part of NoSQL and Apache, has been made available for the Google OS and will also be supported by Hewlett-Packard’s next release of webOS.

        • CouchDB Says Hello To Google Android
        • HTC releases Android 2.2 source code for EVO 4G, Incredible, Aria, and Wildfire — geeks rejoice

          Modders and ROM developers are about to bury themselves in source code today and will chug six packs of Red Bull to stay up late into the night hacking away. HTC has released their valuable Android 2.2 source code for the EVO 4G, DROID Incredible, Aria, and Wildfire today allowing programmers and enthusiasts to get their hands dirty with code.

        • Android Beats Ubuntu and Linux

          Linux has become omnipresent. It’s presence is so deep that a user may not even know that he/she is in-fact using Linux, the kernel. The GNU combined operating systems do give Linux its identity.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ON TEST: Ubuntu Netbook Edition

        Yesterday we looked at Jolicloud as an option for netbook owners keen on using the net’s cloud computing potential. Today, we look at the big name in Linux: Ubuntu.

        The latest version of Ubuntu “Lucid Lynx” — 10.4 — comes in a netbook-optimised version that is designed for computer makers to deploy on new netbooks, but it is also available for public download. It’s a great operating system choice for netbook users.

        [...]

        I personally prefer the Netbook Edition over the vanilla Desktop version. The user interface is very intuitive, and the resources footprint is smaller than the normal Ubuntu system. For most netbooks, you will be surprised with the power that Ubuntu Netbook Edition has in a fresh install, and the Ubuntu/Debian software installation system is one of the best on any platform, so installing the software to suit most user needs is rather easy and quick (or even the operating system itself for that matter).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Study: Big Biz Falls in Love With FOSS, but Not Just ‘Cause It’s a Cheap Date

    Open source software is poised for rapid growth in enterprises over the next 12 months, but cost is no longer the primary driver behind open source adoption.

    That’s according to a new study from global consultancy Accenture, which based its findings on interviews with 300 executives at organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland with annual revenues above US$500 million.

  • Survey: 98 percent of enterprises using open source
  • Free Software Women’s Group Releases Results of Study

    The group cites several reasons why women don’t participate more readily in the free software community and offers some solutions for remedying the problem. But is it enough?

  • Frustrated developer releases intell analysis software as open-source

    Intelligence analysis software is about to go open source. Matthew Burton, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and software developer, is working on an open-source version of a CIA software tool called “Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.”

  • Is an Open-Source Framework the Key to Preventing Security Threats?
  • Open Source Software Gives Fast, Free Alternatives

    Another key factor that keeps open source appealing is that it often does not require a high-end system to run well. Some of the applications run well even on older computers.

    There are also open source equivalents to many programs Windows and Mac users would normally need to pay for. Among them is OpenOffice—a free, full-featured office suite.

  • Save a bundle on software with free, open source apps
  • Will Hurd-less HP take a less proprietary turn

    Fiorina had a vision of HP as a GM of high tech. Hurd’s view was that of a new IBM, even though that had been done. These open source times call for something different, and a bigger dream.

  • The Mendix Community Fully Embraces Open Source

    The Mendix AppStore is a fantastic example of our own community embracing open source. Most of the content in our AppStore is open source.

  • Google Wave fans set up protest site

    Devotees of Google Wave have set up a protest site to persuade the global advertising giant not to abandon the collaborative messaging platform, following last week’s decision to halt development of the tool.

    The decision to pull the plug on Wave was a giant blow for Google Australia, which led development of the tool. Now Wave followers from around the world have called for the company to reconsider.

  • Role-based access control: Pros of an open source RBAC implementation

    When looking at the commercial RBAC marketplace, it’s important to note that some of the biggest players in the market aren’t the biggest companies. Because RBAC’s potential is still being realized, if a vendor can react faster to advancements in RBAC functionality, it can gain an advantage over its competitors. This positions smaller, boutique companies like Aveksa Inc., BHOLD Company and SailPoint Technologies Inc. in front of larger enterprise competitors like CA Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. (recently acquired by Oracle Corp.).

  • OpenDragon Geoinformatics Software to be Open Source and free worldwide

    The Global Software Institute (GSI) has announced that, effective immediately, OpenDragon is available for free download by users anywhere in the world. OpenDragon offers a full suite of image analysis and raster GIS capabilities including image enhancement, supervised and unsupervised classification, geometric correction, measurement and statistics, vector capture and display, slope, aspect and buffer calculations and multi-criterion decision making. OpenDragon also includes the OpenDragon Toolkit, which allows users who can program in C to extend the software functionality.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Comparing open source cloud platforms: OpenStack versus Eucalyptus

      Historically, the open source community has impacted both the economics and the innovations of the computer industry. Open source software is known for causing previously monolithic applications to become commoditized. In the database space, one only needs to look at MySQL and PostgreSQL. In the Web server space, there is Apache, and in application servers, there are Tomcat, JOnAS, JBoss, Jetty and GlassFish. In programming and scripting languages, there are the likes of Java, Perl and PHP. GNU Linux, in particular, has done so much to commoditize the operating system market that even phones use it.

  • Databases

    • Monty’s MariaDB extends the open source database

      As MySQL grew, Widenuis’ message of community got pushed back and that’s where things started to go wrong. Widenuis also slammed Sun, saying that had no respect for engineering talent. Wiednuis left Sun in 2009 and the main reason for his new MariaDB was about saving the people that he cared about and he wanted a good home for MySQL that he didn’t believe was in good hands.

      A focus on community is what MariaDB is all about, Widenuis said he is now following a hacking business model. It’s not a company that is being built to be sold, it’s democratic and employees are all shareholders.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle outlines Solaris 11, says little of OpenSolaris

      At the company’s strategy update, Oracle outlined the future for Solaris 11, but said nothing about OpenSolaris. Oracle’s John Fowler says that Solaris 11 will be a major upgrade to key components, such as networking stacks, threading, file systems, package management and maintenance. A focus on scalability would also be incorporated in preparation for the next generation of hardware, like the 128 core, 16,384 thread system with 64TB of memory that Oracle is currently developing. Solaris 11 is expected around the second half of 2011.

    • OpenOffice 3.3 Beta: The Shape of Things to Come?

      The motto for the 3.3 release is “Fit and Trim.” The phrase is vague, but suggests a concern with interface improvements. This impression is reinforced by the first item on the features list, which is “First Achievements of the Renaissance Project,” an OpenOffice.org sub-project focused on improving the interface. Further confirmation, if any is needed, is provided by the fact that only a few new features are scheduled and the rest are enhancements of existing features.

      The 3.3 release is available on the OpenOffice.org site in 323 and 64 bit .RPM and .DEB packages, as well as source tarballs. Regardless of your choice of formats, the release installs into a separate sub-directory of /opt, allowing it to co-exist with other OpenOffice.org releases. To start the release, click /opt/ooo-dev3/program/soffice. The build is relatively stable, and documents created in it can be opened in earlier versions of OpenOffice.org, but you should probably use 3.3 sparingly in case of problems.

  • CMS

    • Webiva Delivers Open Source Content Management on Rails

      Webiva is yet another content management system that aims to give the likes of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal some competition. The difference? In addition to being an open source, Ruby on Rails system, Webiva comes packed with a SaaS hosting platform that cuts out a ton of management hassle.

    • Webiva Launches SaaS Hosting Platform for its CMS

      Webiva.com allows web professionals to build websites on a load-balanced, backed-up and replicated cloud without the hassle of installing and maintaining a Ruby on Rails installation. It competes with other web 2.0 CMSs like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.

  • Education

  • Business

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark is a Nifty Open Source Flash Alternative

      The developer of free, open source flash player Lightspark announced the release of Lightspark 0.4.3. In addition to a number of bugfixes, the software includes a number of additional features since the last release.

  • Government

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Collaborative Democracy: Beth Noveck on Reengineering Civic Life

      We did a small experiment along these lines with the Peer to Patent project, which seized upon the truth that each of us is an expert in something. The idea behind Peer to Patent was to take the problem of bureaucratic slowdown and inefficiency in the patent office, and to marry to this the idea of self-selected expertise. This would create a process by which people could volunteer in a self-selected way, and work together to help discover information that would help an examiner decide whether a patent truly deserve a 20-year grant of monopoly rights – whether the patent is truly non-obvious and novel as the law requires. By creating a software interface and system that would allow groups of people to self-select, come together, and review each other’s works, some of the burden would be taken off the beleaguered government examiner. By using visual interfaces to help reflect back to and explain to people clearly what it is that the examiner needs to do, and how they divide up the tasks of examining a patent, we were able to set up a project not removed from government but together with government – the first institutionalized social network in the U.S. federal government to participate in the work of decision-making.

    • Textbook rental: one of best ways for students to save money

      Another option could be open-source textbooks, as are available on curriki.org, a nonprofit that seeks to provide “universal access to free curricula and instructional materials for grades K-12,” according to its website. For college professors, though, who are generally very specific about which textbook their students work from, it could be a long time before open-source curricula are adopted widely.

    • Open Hardware

Leftovers

  • Science

    • E=mc2? Not on Conservapedia

      In a footnote, this comment is followed up by: “Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold.”

      Does relativity really steer people away from God? Or maybe – and this is just a theory, to use their favourite phrase – the same kinds of people who study general relativity are simply less likely to consult the Bible for answers to the questions of the universe.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover

      Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country’s wind and hydropower, but also its sunlight and ocean waves.

  • Finance

    • Market Drop Worldwide Signals Fears on Recovery

      As economic recovery wavers in the United States, evidence is mounting that growth abroad is also slowing and may be unable to sustain the fragile rebound here.

    • Judge orders Wells Fargo to pay back $203M in fees

      A federal judge in California ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to change what he called “unfair and deceptive business practices” that led customers into paying multiple overdraft fees, and to pay $203 million back to customers.

    • Californians’ income sees 1st decline since WWII

      The personal income of California residents declined last year for the first time since World War II, state officials said Wednesday.

      An analysis by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis found that statewide income fell by $40 billion in 2009 to $1.56 trillion. That’s down about 2.5 percent from the previous year and even lower than the 2007 figure.

    • Trade gap likely points to slower economic growth

      The United States is selling fewer products around the world and spending more on cheap imported goods, an imbalance that hurts the job market at home and means the economy is even weaker than previously thought.

      The trade deficit of nearly $50 billion for June is the biggest in almost two years, and economists fear that economic growth for the second quarter, which came in at a sluggish rate of 2.4 percent in early estimates, may turn out to be only half that.

    • Chaos in U.S. markets on trade deficit, global data

      Stocks were deeply in the red Wednesday after the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly and a string of weak economic reports from Asia and Europe heightened concerns that the global recovery is veering off track.

    • Some job-screening tactics challenged as illegal

      Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

    • Global Youth Unemployment Reaches New High

      Youth unemployment across the world has climbed to a new high and is likely to climb further this year, a United Nations agency said Thursday, while warning of a “lost generation” as more young people give up the search for work.

    • Airline staffs hits record lows, with room to fall

      Full flights? Get used to them. Stressed flight attendants and call centers in India? Get used to those, too.

      While the current state of the U.S. airline industry can be frustrating for passengers, it’s bad for employees, too – and some suggest it’s getting worse.

      U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years, the government said Wednesday, an acceleration of a trend since 2001. What’s worse for employees: There’s no indication that trend will reverse sharply anytime soon.

    • Wells Fargo Overdraft Lawsuit: Bank Ordered To Pay $203 MILLION In Fees Over ‘Unfair’ Charges

      A federal judge in California ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to change what he called “unfair and deceptive business practices” that led customers into paying multiple overdraft fees, and to pay $203 million back to customers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Libel Tourism Law Official… Including Important Nod To Section 230 Safe Harbors

      We spend a lot of time discussing bad legislation around here, every so often it’s nice to hear of some good legislation. Last month, we noted that an anti-libel tourism bill was making its way through Congress, which would protect US citizens from foreign libel judgments on laws that went against the First Amendment. Thankfully, that bill has now been signed into law — and it may be even better than we initially expected. That’s because, at the urging of folks such as Public Citizen, Congress inserted a bit into the law that also extends the important Section 230 safe harbors to this bill.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rupert Murdoch fights to take the ‘sky’ out of ‘Skype’

      A spokesman for Sky, which is 39.1pc-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, said the company was trying to prevent Skype from using its trademark in relation to the sale of TV or internet service, because customer might assume that ‘Skype’ is part of Sky.

    • Copyrights

      • Why US Copyright Group abandoned its first two P2P lawsuits

        US Copyright Group, which is controlled by Virginia law firm Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, has sued more than 14,000 Americans this year for allegedly downloading various independent films on BitTorrent networks. In January, it brought the first two of these cases, targeting 749 anonymous “Does” for sharing the film The Gray Man and 83 Does for sharing Uncross the Stars (later upgraded to 195 Does).

        US Copyright Group used the suits to subpoena ISPs, trying to get real names and addresses instead of the IP addresses it had collected. The lawyers then sent out settlement letters to these defendants, asking them to pay up or risk a named federal lawsuit.

      • French Citizen Beats Government to Trademarking HADOPI

        HADOPI is effectively an anti-piracy organization that oversees and enforces Frances three strikes law. Unfortunately for HADOPI, someone else took the Trademark of ‘HADOPI’ – someone who just so happens to be opposed by the new French copyright laws to be more precise.

      • After Hundreds Of ‘Empire State Of Mind’ Parodies… Why Does EMI Suddenly Take One Down?

        Even odder? Apparently EMI has issued a takedown notice for just that one video pulling it off YouTube. This is despite literally hundreds of Empire State of Mind parodies on YouTube. Those 55 best parodies? They’re all on YouTube (with the exception of the Darth Vader one…). Honestly, I thought this had to be a mistake, or some weird Content ID error by YouTube. Considering the vast number of these parodies that have all remained up this whole time, would EMI really issue a takedown for this one parody?

      • New antipiracy countermeasures await returning students
      • Viacom to appeal YouTube copyright decision

        In a move that surprises no one, Viacom plans to appeal the ruling that struck down its lawsuit against YouTube and Google earlier this year.

      • Viacom To Google: We Are Appealing The YouTube Decision

        We are not lawyers, but as the last case was dropped by ’summary judgement,’ we doubt the ability of Viacom to turn the tables in their favor. They lost hard in the last dispute, what can they do to change that this time around? Still, the company has its arms out and is pushing forward yet again. Perhaps after another judge sticks with YouTube they will drop the case. Then again, perhaps not.

      • Copyright Boss Refuses Debate with Pirate Bay Co-Founder

        Werner Müller, boss of the Austrian film and music industry trade association, has canceled his participation in a panel discussion on “Art in the Digital Age” after he learned that Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde was one of his fellow participants. Müller stated that he refuses to sit at a table with a “convicted criminal” who supports “professional theft”.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech UCSD 2007


08.11.10

Links 11/8/2010: Motorola Droid 2 Surfaces, Ubuntu’s Census Backlash

Posted in News Roundup at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • On the changing role of PowerTOP

      I’m realizing that PowerTOP got released 3 years ago now. While not nearly as old as the Linux kernel, it’s time to look back and then forward again.

      [...]

      So it’s now time to rethink some of the code code and make things much more scalable for adding new checks and features. In addition, the output also needs to improve to be more useful as a diagnostics tool. I’m thinking about adding a “generate a report” option, that basically gives a complete report card of the system.
      This doesn’t mean I want to leave the end user behind; not at all. But in terms of new features, with all the low hanging fruit taken care of, some of the things PowerTOP needs to do are just a lot more technical than what PowerTOP 1.0 offered.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, KVM to Pursue Security Certification

        We’re excited to announce that Red Hat has entered into an agreement with atsec information security to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 under Common Criteria at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4+, which will include certifying the KVM hypervisor on both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. The Common Criteria EALs represent the depth and rigor of the evaluation, giving consumers the confidence that products certified at a specific level meet the package of security assurance requirements associated with that level and comply with internationally recognized security standards.

      • Red Hat, Wipro may Deliver Open Source Solutions Across India

        Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and Wipro, a leading Indian IT solutions and services provider, today announced that Wipro has become the first Red Hat Premier Partner in India and the two companies have strengthened their strategic partnership through joint marketing and integration opportunities designed to bring open source solutions to enterprises across the subcontinent.

      • Global Knowledge Named Red Hat Premier Training Partner of the Year for 2010
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu’s Census Taker Getting Bad Rap

          It hasn’t helped that Canonical is already bearing the brunt of some community animosity over recent reports indicating they might not be contributing enough code upstream to the GNOME Project, followed up by a stunningly obtuse rant (and, later, apology) against free software by a prominent member of the Ubuntu community.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Replica Island for Android

          This open-source title was built specifically for the Android platform, and the fact that the main character is a dead ringer for Android’s mascot is no coincidence.

        • Easy Root App For Motorola Droid/Droid-X/Milestone Removed From Android Marketplace

          “Easy Root” – an easy one-click solution for users looking to root Android 2.2 on their Motorola Droid, Droid-X and Milestone has reportedly been removed from the Android Marketplace. While I have not been able to try the app out myself, the app presumably offers an easy way for non-techie users of these Android handsets to be able to root their Motorola phones. Unlike most other rooting applications, Easy Root does not require users to connect their handsets to a computer. Instead, they were required to download the $1 app from the Marketplace and tap ‘Root Me‘ to get started.

        • Tablet makers eye Android screen optimization

          Tablet makers may be warm to Google’s Android operating system (OS), but the OS’ inability to scale beyond 5-inch screens works against its favor. Industry watchers, though, note this is just one factor affecting user experience and predict support for bigger screens will come in time.

        • 1.2GHz Dual-Core HTC Android iPhone 4 Beater Spotted

          HTC has more Android smartphones than any other company, and it’s a trend that looks set to continue into the next year. The latest model on the horizon has a spec that could include an amazing 1.2GHz dual-core processor, along with a sliding QWERTY keyboard. To find out more, join us after the break…

        • Competing in a Heated Android Market

          Understandably, most manufacturers choose to source their OS from someone else. Android is the licensed OS of the moment, largely because the other options didn’t innovate fast enough – Microsoft had to abandon Windows Mobile and start fresh with Windows Phone 7 and Symbian ought to be doing the same thing.

        • Verizon announces Droid 2, available August 12

          It wasn’t the most well-kept secret in the world, but the news is nonetheless exciting, as Verizon Wireless finally announced the Motorola Droid 2 on Tuesday.

          The Droid 2 will be available for presale on Verizon’s Web site starting August 11 and will be in stores August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. As expected, the smartphone will ship running Android 2.2, which among other things includes support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The Droid 2 can also be used as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices, but you will need to sign up for Verizon’s 3G Mobile Hotspot Service, which costs $20 per month.

        • Motorola Droid 2 (and R2-D2 edition!) finally official: Android 2.2, Swype, $200 on contract

          At long last, the leaks are being plugged by none other than Verizon itself, who today confirmed that the Droid 2 is more than just a figment of everyone’s imagination. Shortly after hamstringing the Froyo update for the original Droid, Big Red is tossing a tempting upgrade all up in your grille, as the Droid 2 ships with Android 2.2, mobile hotspot (a $20 / month add-on), Flash Player 10.1 and a revised QWERTY keyboard.

        • Motorola’s dev site details Android-powered Ming A1680
        • Couchio announce CouchDB SDK for Android

          The application is installable from the Android Marketplace (search for “CouchDB”) and runs on Android 2.1 and 2.2 devices. The source code is also available from a GitHub repository.

Free Software/Open Source

  • eWEEK Europe Readers Say Yes To Open Source

    Enterprises are leading the way in open source, according to our readers’ poll, while governments lag behind. Next up: the majority of my business’s desktops are…

  • Lockheed Martin’s Social Networking Platform’s Not Rocket Science

    Lockheed Martin, the giant defense contractor, is wary of letting its staff use social networking. Probably something to do with secrecy. It also knows its staff are people, so it’s built its own social network structure, dubbed Eureka Streams, and is now releasing it open-source for … well, pretty much anyone to use.

  • The perils of writing about open source

    It is said that there are three subjects you should never discuss at the dinner table; sex, religion and politics. I’d like to add a fourth to that combustible list – open source software.

    Open source is one of those subjects journalists treat cautiously, which is probably why a recent report by security company Qualys relating versioning to vulnerabilities in some open source web apps has caused some angst ever since I tackled it for a news story.

  • Packt launch fifth annual Open Source Awards
  • IT industry news: Businesses ‘should exploit the benefits of open source technology’

    The use of open source technology in the IT industry and other sectors allows companies to obtain real time statistics and analytics without investing too much, according to Nicola Clark, features editor at Marketing Magazine.

  • Open Source Community Paves Way for Developers to Improve Internet Access for the Aging, Disabled

    The OpenAjax Alliance (OAA) has announced it has created new open source tooling technology to help software developers access and use Web 2.0-enabled business, government and consumer web sites. The new tooling technology simplifies the way Web applications are tested for compliance with current accessibility standards and guidelines, helping to speed up delivery of new accessible Internet applications.

  • The Good & Bad For LLVMpipe With Intel’s GLSL2 Compiler

    Last month we tested out Intel’s new GLSL compiler for Mesa when running the ATI Radeon classic Mesa and Gallium3D drivers to see how this GL Shading Language compiler designed by Intel employee’s for their hardware and open-source driver work for the other open-source drivers, since all of the Mesa drivers will be affected once this “GLSL2″ compiler is merged into the Mesa code-base by month’s end. The experience using Intel’s new shader compiler with the ATI Radeon graphics driver worked fine except for Warsow where serious regressions were visible, but in the other games that are capable of running off Mesa, the experience was fine. What we have been curious to test since then with this new OpenGL shader compiler has been the LLVMpipe driver — a Gallium3D driver we have been very excited about as it finally provides a better software rasterizer for Linux by leveraging Gallium3D and the Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler infrastructure for accelerating the Mesa state tracker atop a modern multi-core CPU that supports SSE4 instructions. We have now finished running tests of the Intel’s GLSL2 branch with the most recent LLVMpipe driver code.

  • Zenoss Survey Finds Open Source Ubiquitous, Easy

    No surprise, 98% of enterprises are using open source. But the tide is turning in terms of perception: More than 71% of those surveyed at the 2009 USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference say that open source is easier to deploy than proprietary software.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Open source monetization – still a far cry?

      As far as open source is concerned, people do not necessarily need a huge pile of money to create a software asset. Linus Torvalds never charged anything for Linux. He wrote it because he felt that to be an important thing to do. I think most of the people who do open source have a day job or have a company. They’re selling all of their services around open source. So something like open source can continue to just run without actually monetizing the software asset directly.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Using Competition Law to Promote Access to Knowledge

      One of the points of convergence among the many strands of the A2K movement is resistance to the one-size-fits-all ratcheting up of intellectual property provisions around the world. The resistance is grounded in analysis showing that intellectual property rules often create social costs that far outweigh their intended benefits. Much of the A2K movement’s advocacy for limitations of intellectual property rights is located within the field of intellectual property law – promoting the inclusion and use of balancing mechanisms within the laws granting intellectual property rights. But intellectual property rights are also shaped and limited by their interaction with other fields of law, competition law being a prime example. After describing the theoretical and doctrinal underpinnings of a shift of A2K legal advocacy toward the use of completion law, this paper surveys some of the strategic advantages of using competition norms to reframe political debates and shift struggles into new, potentially more hospitable, forums.

    • Open Up Event to Discuss Implementing Open Source in Society

      All talks will then be uploaded to the Open UP archive for the world to see. After the talks there will be an open discussion where people can network and learn more about incorporating open source ideas and principles into their work. This project is an extremely exciting opportunity for cross pollination and discussion of Open Source Ideals.

    • CoLab Brings Online Collaboration to the Scientific Community

      Scientific researchers may want the input of others in the community but are understandably hesitant to share data and information they’ve worked so hard to uncover. When scientists working on similar projects are flung far and wide around the globe, collaboration becomes even more of a challenge. CoLab, a new open source project launched by two California-based scientists, aims to make it easier for the scientific community to work together toward its common goals.

    • Open Source Tools Turn WikiLeaks Into Illustrated Afghan Meltdown (Updated)

      NYU political science grad student (and occasional Danger Room contributor) Drew Conway has done just that, using an open source statistical programming language called R and a graphical plotting software tool. The results are unnerving, like stop-motion photography of a freeway wreck. Above is the latest example: a graph showing the spread of combat from 2004 to 2009. It’s exactly what you wouldn’t want to see as a war drags on.

    • Mapping Georgia From Scratch

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

    • Apertus: The open source cinema project

      When I explain the project, people often ask what the real differences between Apertus and other camera projects really are, or in other words, what advantages an “open” project really possesses for the end user. Since most creative people in the film industry like DOPs (directors of photography) and camera operators are not software developers, they have a very blurry understanding of words like “Linux” and “open source”. If anything they would associate them with “geeks” and “nerds,” but nothing they would expect to work with closely in their future everyday work.

    • Open Data

      • Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information

        In October 2007, 30 open government advocates met in Sebastopol, California to discuss how government could open up electronically-stored government data for public use. Up until that point, the federal and state governments had made some data available to the public, usually inconsistently and incompletely, which had whetted the advocates’ appetites for more and better data. The conference, led by Carl Malamud and Tim O’Reilly and funded by a grant from the Sunlight Foundation, resulted in eight principles that, if implemented, would empower the public’s use of government-held data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Project Canvas specification not so open after all

        The BBC is still refusing to release to the public the requirements specifications for Project Canvas, despite a formal condition of the BBC Trust in approving its participation in the proposed joint venture broadband connected television platform. The BBC Trust now says it does not believe that publication is appropriate at this stage, saying that it would not be in the interests of interested parties.

        The aim of Project Canvas, as stated in the original application from the BBC Executive in February 2009, is “to create an open technical specification for internet connectivity to encourage the growth of internet protocol (IP) connections into set-top boxes.”

    • Open Hardware

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Fallible DNA evidence can mean prison or freedom

      YOU are the juror: would you trust DNA evidence? Most people regard it as near infallible- it produces the right result or no result, exonerating the innocent and securing convictions where other evidence fails.

      But DNA is not as objective as you might think. In the first of a two-part investigation, New Scientist reveals that much of the DNA analysis now conducted in crime labs can suffer from worrying subjectivity and bias. We asked forensic analysts to interpret a sample of real DNA evidence and found that they reached opposing conclusions about whether the suspect matched it or not. Our subsequent survey of labs around the world also shows that there are significant inconsistencies in the guidelines on how to interpret a sample. The findings suggest that the difference between prison and freedom could often rest on the opinions of a single individual.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Discovery Channel Ignores Repeated Twitter Questions, Sends Content-Free Statement

      On Monday, we wrote about the ridiculous manner in which The Discovery Channel was treating a fan site that it had previously supported strongly. At the very top we clearly noted that the domain name of the site — DeadliestCatchTV.com — was indeed a problem, and I could totally understand the trademark claim. But there are all sorts of ways this could be dealt with, and The Discovery Channel appears to have chosen the absolute worst. First, it’s important to point out that for over a year (at least), The Discovery Channel has actively supported this fan site. Not only did staff members happily email the site’s owner, John White, with encouragement, preview videos and content, but it also linked directly to the site on the official webpage for the show Deadliest Catch — even “framing” White’s site with its own dashboard.

      However, after actively supporting the show, suddenly Discovery switched 180 degrees and sent over a legal nastygram, demanding that the site be taken down and the domain handed over. Beyond the (again, probably legitimate) trademark issue, the lawyers added on the absolutely ridiculous claim that White’s embedding of clips from the Discovery Channel’s own YouTube channel (that had embedding enabled) was copyright infringement. This is copyfraud. Discovery specifically chose to allow the world to embed. To then accuse someone of copyright infringement for doing so is blatant legal bullying.

    • Copyrights

      • Should Canadian Universities Walk Away From Access Copyright?

        The Access Copyright tariff proposal that calls for a 1300% increase in fees to $45 per full-time student has generated some interesting discussion. I noted in one of my responses that my courses only use openly accessible materials – court cases, statutes, government reports, and open access licenced articles. This comes without any loss in the quality of materials and without the need for further payment or permissions. I don’t think this is particuarly unusual for law, which relies heavily on these kinds of materials in addition to textbooks purchased by students and works in databases that are separately licenced. The amount of additional copying in that environment that falls outside private study or research such that it requires a licence is tiny to non-existent. Indeed, the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category would not change a great deal for thousands of Canadian law students.

      • Ip Man 2 Movie Piracy Case A Rare Event In China

        In a very rare event, a Chinese anti-piracy group says it will sue several websites and companies for their involvement in film piracy in the country. As it teams up with the studio behind the recent martial arts hit Ip Man 2, not only will web portals and Internet cafes be sued, but one of China’s biggest file-sharing link sites, VeryCD.

      • 944 BitTorrent Lawsuits Dismissed – For Now

        There’s an interesting development going on with the US Copyright Group (USCG) vs The People lawsuits. In the two earliest cases filed way back in January of this year, G2 Entertainment (Uncross the Stars) and World Wide Entertainment (The Gray Man), have dismissed their cases – without prejudice. The following verbiage appeared in motions filed by these companies…

        [...]

        WorldWide Film Entertainment had 749 defendants, the third lowest number of defendants in all of the USCG lawsuits. Only the Call of the Wild lawsuit has fewer, with 358 unnamed defendants.

      • The Cycle Of Copyright: Originally A Tool For Censorship, Attempted As A Tool For Incentives… Back To A Tool For Censorship

        If you want to understand copyright law, its history, and how it’s been abused, you really ought to read this excellent overview by law professor and practicing intellectual property attorney, Lydia Pallas Loren, called The Purpose of Copyright (found via Teleread). The article kicks off with a point that we’ve made over and over again here, that many people incorrectly believe the purpose of copyright law is to protect creators. Unfortunately, this false belief permeates many in society — including copyright lawyers:

        Copyright permeates our lives and yet, despite its impact on our lives, relatively few people, including lawyers, have sufficient knowledge or understanding of what copyright is. And far too many people, including lawyers, have major misconceptions concerning copyright. These misconceptions are causing a dangerous shift in copyright protection, a shift that threatens the advancement of knowledge and learning in this country. This shift that we are experiencing in copyright law reflects a move away from viewing copyright as a monopoly that the public is willing to tolerate in order to encourage innovation and creation of new works to viewing copyright as a significant asset to this country’s economy. The most recent example of this shift is the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sign by the President on October 28, 1998.

        Understanding the root cause and the dangers of this shift requires exposing the most fundamental and most common misconception concerning the underlying purpose of the monopoly granted by our copyright law. The primary purpose of copyright is not, as many people believe, to protect authors against those who would steal the fruits of their labor. However, this misconception, repeated so often that it has become accepted among the public as true, poses serious dangers to the core purpose that copyright law is designed to serve.

      • Ferne Downey: Building on private copying is one way to fix Canadian copyright bill

        At the risk of sounding nerdy, I have to say I’m happy to be spending my summer talking and writing about copyright. As a performer, Canadian copyright laws play a big part in how I make my living—or not, as the case may be. The only downer is I’d rather be talking up Bill C-32, the government’s recently introduced copyright legislation, to make sure it gets passed, not working so hard to make sure it gets amended.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech 2001


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