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Links 28/04/2009: Red Hat Deal, Firefox Reaches Final Beta

GNOME bluefish



  • Jilted Sun Snapped Up by Oracle for Application Systems
    Larry Ellison, Oracle's co-founder and chief executive officer, explained how Solaris Unix is the most popular platform on which Oracle's eponymous databases are deployed, but quickly added that Linux was number two on the operating system hit parade for Oracle and that the acquisition in no way, shape, or form meant that Oracle was backing off on its support for Linux, particularly its own clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, called Oracle Enterprise Linux. Ellison added that the deal would mean that Oracle could tightly integrate its databases with Solaris, and that this integration would allow Oracle to offer Sun systems that would have lower TCO than alternatives.

  • Make Your Linux Desktop More Productive
    Apple has convinced millions that they can make the switch from Windows to OS X, but those curious about Linux have to see for themselves if they can work or play on a free desktop.

  • Roll Your Own Linux with New Solutions
    When it comes to operating systems, are you tired of taking what's thrown at you? It's funny how operating system vendors believe that "one size fits all." Wouldn't you rather do it your way? Now you can. Building your own custom Linux distribution (distro) is easy, quick and free. What more could you ask for — support for all major virtual machine types? You got it. You want it to be web-based? You got it. You want it to be easy to use? Got it. Anything else? You also want more than one choice that fits all those criteria? Yep, got that too.

  • Pros and Cons for Using CLI
    In this article I will debate on several major advantages and disadvantages for using the command-line in Linux. When I think it's 'better' to use CLI, when not, and how can this can impact the work speed.

  • Games

    • Game review - Eschalon: Book I
      Eschalon is a turn-based RPG that has been developed by a small game company called Basilisk Games. A few months ago it was announced that Eschalon has been made available for Linux so I decided to give it a try. Keep in mind before moving on that I do not look upon myself as much of a gamer. I'm that type of Linux geek that likes to solve real-life puzzles such "what development libraries am I missing to be able to compile this source code?" So no, I'm not into gaming and spending hours of my life trying to defeat virtual monsters. But something about Eschalon made me put aside all these facts and next thing you know I was slaughtering Tauraxes in the Western side of Blackwater.

    • Globulation 2 Game Review
      Remember that simple circle-and-a-stick game our fathers used to play when they were kids? You took a metal wheel frame from a bicycle and roll it down the road, trying to keep it steady by using a stick. Try and compare that game to - let's say - Glest or Starcraft. Now hold that image in your head for a second and imagine trying to stabilize that iron circle with nothing but a scarf. You'd have to pull on both ends of the scarf and try to somehow keep the balance of the rolling circle. A stick would be much more handy, but where's the fun in that?

  • Applications

    • Amarok Playlist Usability Testing
      For a simple activity, creating and saving a playlist in Amarok seemed to be harder than necessary. However, there were only a few key usability issues, which when fixed, will result in a much more efficient and easier to use playlist feature. Usability issues included problems in interaction with the Collections list, poor or no labeling in the UI, and a few other details.

    • Impressed with the PostgreSQL Installer
      BitRock does not appear to have a completely free license but they do seem to give open source projects a “free copy.” Not sure how I feel about this, but I guess if they’re out to make money then it could work for them. Apparentely it doesn’t take much to please me on a mundane Monday morning, I’d have been perfectly fine with a tarball and manual configuration but the GUI has brightened up my day. Thanks BitRock! Does any one else have any encounters or shocking experience with installers? What about BitRock in general?

    • KVM vs. VMware: A Case Study
      After a month of debate and experimentation, my employer has made the decision to use the open-source KVM virtualization infrastructure for migrating IT resources to a virtualized environment. Below, I discuss why we chose KVM over its (mostly proprietary) alternatives.


      For IT staff interested in zero-cost, Linux-friendly, feature-rich and resource-efficient virtualization, KVM has become the way to go. If VMware wants to compete, it needs to rise from the laurels of its crumbling monopoly by innovating and lowering costs.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Debian and LXDE
      In any case, the combination Debian (testing) + LXDE is lightning fast. I haven’t timed anything yet, but it feels even faster than my Arch install, even using ext3. Okay, at the moment it doesn’t boot into X yet, I have to start it manually. Wireless hasn’t been configured yet, sound doesn’t work yet, and I have to install most of the applications I need…but man, it’s fast.

    • Experimenting with Alternate Desktop Managers
      There is a lot more to desktops than what I have considered so far here - primarily the look and feel, menus, applets and configurability. Gnome and KDE come with a whole range of utilities and applications, from CD/DVD burners to Office suites, to graphic programs, file managers, web browsers, mail and calendar managers, and much more. These lightweight desktop systems generally don't include nearly as much, but they can often use programs and utilities from either Gnome or KDE to supplement what they have.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat

      • IBM Clients Build More Integrated, Intelligent, Automated Infrastructures to Reduce Costs, Manage Risk, Improve Service
        Tricon Geophysics,Venezuela's leading provider of seismic data processing and interpretation services for oil and gas companies is using an IBM iDataPlex system running Red Hat Linux for the seismic data collation, processing and migration needed for oil and gas exploration and production. This highly dynamic infrastructure based on IBM's iDataPlex enables Tricon to analyze 25 times more seismic data in the same time as compared to existing systems from an area of approximately 2500 square kilometers (close to 1000 square miles) and improve energy efficiency by 40 percent, while also reducing operating and cooling costs. Because the simulation of 3-D seismic data requires several compilations before it can be processed by standard petro-technical applications, the company also implemented an IBM System x3950 server running the Red Hat Linux operating system to pre-process seismic data. This capability gives Tricon a unique competitive advantage to conduct seismic analysis for oil and gas companies covering larger areas in a shorter time, cost effectively aided by energy efficiency and higher computing densities.

      • Brazilian National Institute of Educational Research and Studies Adopts JBoss Solutions to Increase Data Processing Performance
        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Brazilian National Institute of Educational Research and Studies (Inep), has migrated its applications to a full suite of JBoss Enterprise Middleware technology, including the JBoss Enterprise Application and Portal Platforms. Since beginning its migration to JBoss solutions, Inep has increased scalability, performance and stability for its mission-critical applications.

      • Red Hat Fedora 11 Focuses on the Linux Desktop
        Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is ramping up for its next community Linux release as Fedora 11, codenamed "Leonidas" hits its preview milestone release today -- showing off the future of Linux technologies.

        Fedora 11 includes new open source technologies that accelerate the Linux desktop from a number of different perspectives. Boot time is improved, as is device connectivity, while server-side installations will benefit from a new Linux filesystem and enhanced virtualization capabilities.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical's Ubuntu reaches for the cloud
        Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, on Thursday announced two major components of its cloud-computing strategy.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 development begins
        Ubuntu 9.10 is expected to focus on server functions related to cloud computing, energy conservation, shorter start up times and a revised login screen. Better hardware support for the growing number of netbooks is also planned. Following the final release of Ubuntu 9.10, a Developer Summit is scheduled for the 19th of November.

      • Ubuntu Karmic development kicks off

      • Has Ubuntu Reached the End Of the Line?
        I admit it. I'm impressed. I might have written a wishy-washy review of the beta of Ubuntu 9.04, but now I've had a chance to play with the final release, I like what I'm seeing. I like it a lot. Well done, Ubuntu guys!

      • Ubuntu brings advanced Screen features to the masses
        The latest version of Ubuntu includes some nifty embellishments to the GNU Screen program. These improvements make some of Screen's more sophisticated features accessible to users.

      • Ubuntu Jaunty Tries to Set the Usability Agenda
        With these perspectives in mind, Shuttleworth set to work with the Canonical team and announced the proposed changes on his blog in February, pointing readers to a description of the new notification standards.

        These standards depend on the exact message being transmitted. If the message does not require any action by a user and can wait, then the message should display within the application it applies to. There is no need, for instance, for a desktop notification when Firefox crashes because Firefox has its own system for displaying messages. However, if no action is needed but the user should read the message immediately -- for instance, if a new USB drive has been plugged in -- then the message should go in a notification bubble (so-called for its rounded corners) near the system tray.

      • System76 Launches Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook
        So I have to admit: System76 has me intrigued. I had good experience recently testing System76’s Pangolin Performance laptop. And Ubuntu users seem to like System76’s products: The company’s revenues (from Ubuntu-oriented systems, of course) grew 61 percent in 1Q 2009 vs. 1Q 2008.

      • Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu: What Does It All Mean?
        Canonical, Ubuntu's corporate shepard, maintains several different versions of its popular Linux operating system. The most obvious and best-known varieties are the Ubuntu Linux Desktop Edition and Server Edition.

      • Boot Speed War: Xubuntu 9.04 vs. Fedora 10 vs. PCLinuxOS 2009
        Xubuntu 9.04 won, but only by a slim margin against PCLOS 2009. I was surprised to see Fedora 10 as being the slowest to boot among the three.

      • Super OS 9.04 Is More Than Ubuntu 9.04
        Super OS authors have granted to the users the possibility to perform an upgrade from the currently installed Ubuntu or Super Ubuntu Linux distribution, but a clean installation of Super OS would be a better choice. Super OS is available for free download as Live DVD and Install DVD only for x86 machines (download links are published on the Super OS official website).

      • A Windows user's first impression of Ubuntu Part 1
        After several years of using Windows I have finally made the step towards Linux by choosing Ubuntu. I can't say I hated or hate Windows but it was the time to do some cleaning and since Linux had been an attraction for me for a few years I decided to switch. Now I feel like a kid with a new toy. I want to find all the goodies, and explore all the features of this OS. Here are my impressions after several hours of using Ubuntu:

      • How much do Canonical job offers tell us about Ubuntu?
        So, I was really thrilled to see that Canonical was now hiring a "Desktop Architect - Network experience" person, and a "Desktop Architect – Sound Experience" person. Add this to the few offers from October which sadly are still there (Gnome developper, OpenGL developper), and it seems to me that Canonical finally decided to pass the second gear.

      • Linux for real people
        Rochelle Derilo, a student at the UP Open University and a Windows user since 1995, began using Ubuntu after her friend, Frederick Bamm Gabriena, an instructor of astronomy at the Rizal Technological University, showed her that Linux was no longer limited to the command line interface.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Intelligent NIC downloads while host PC sleeps
      Developers at the University of San Diego say they will demonstrate massive power savings for desktop PCs from embedding an ARM- and Linux-based Gumstix CPU into a network interface. The "Somniloquy" can handle file-sharing and long downloads independently, and only wakes a host PC when necessary.

    • Hands on with the GP2X Wiz
      There's also a collection of Flash games which are entirely in Korean so we can't make head nor tail of them. They are, however, outrageously cute and have the most toe-tappingly catchy soundtracks you will ever, ever hear. Fact.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM netbook with Android undercuts Atom models
        Many manufacturers have now joined the Open Handset Alliance to cooperate on developing Android; an operating system originally tailored to mobile phones, with a practical browser and a lot of applications.

      • Bluetooth 3.0 stack ships for Moblin and Android
        Beijing, China-based IVT Corp. announced the availability of what it claims is the world's first Bluetooth 3.0+HS commercial stack for the Linux-based Moblin and Android mobile device platforms. Bluetooth 3.0 uses AMP (alternate MAC/PHY) technology, which enables Bluetooth to piggyback on WiFi transmissions when available.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS

    • ReactOS 0.3.9 boasts insanely huge speedups
      Naturally we focus mostly on Linux here at TuxRadar HQ, but we keep tabs on the wider open source world too. For the last few years we've been intrigued by the progress of ReactOS, a free software Windows implementation that could one day give Microsoft the chills. Well, ReactOS 0.3.9 is now here, with major performance improvements, initial sound support and the latest WINE DLLs for improved compatibility. Summary after the break.

    • ReactOS 0.3.9 promises speed increase
      The 0.3.9 release includes a "much improved" networking stack and the kernel now supports sound via the new kernel streaming services. A new and faster Hyperspace Mapping Interface is included, improving the overall speed of the OS. The minimum memory requirement has been reduced to 32Mb.

  • Business

    • Zimbra Launching Partner Program
      Zimbra, the open source email provider owned by Yahoo, plans to launch a formalized partner program in the next few weeks or so. More than 700 partners already sell or host Zimbra’s software, which is marching toward 50 million paid customers, The VAR Guy hears. But that’s not all. Here’s where Zimbra is heading next in the channel.

    • Asterisk: Who’s Answering the Call for Training?
      Admittedly, 600 attendees isn’t a “massive” event, but it does represent the start of a broader open source IP PBX movement that’s spilling over into the IT channel.

  • Government

    • Military enlists open source community
      One example of the Defense Department's new community-based approach to software development is, which was made generally available for unclassified use within the department in April. is powered by CollabNet Team Forge, a commercial lifecycle management platform for distributed software development teams.

  • Programming

  • Applications


  • Fake News Not Quite Dead Yet
    "For reporters covering breaking news, live broadcasts mean there's no lag time." In other words, sponsored video provided by PR firms "allows reporters to cover stories while cutting travel expenses." Videos can also help "companies with budget restraints, or corporate executives who want to deliver a message to employees," without traveling.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 12 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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