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Links 07/06/2009: More Migrations to GNU/Linux in Schools, Shop

GNOME bluefish



  • The Wine development release 1.1.23 is now available.
    What's new in this release (see below for details): - Support for registering MIME types with the Linux desktop. - FBO mode is now the default for Direct3D. - Support for COM proxy delegation. - Improved support for the Mingw cross-compile. - Proper fullscreen mode for the virtual desktop. - Various bug fixes.

  • Will Lintel Replace Wintel and iStuff?
    I see this as a major blow to what we techies have historically referred to as the Wintel market. Wintel refers to Intel systems running Microsoft's Windows software. We frequently talk about Wintel boxes and Wintel architecture and I'm sure that some of that will continue but now, with this acquisition, we'll soon refer to devices as Lintel to distinguish their Linux operating system from Windows on a particular piece of hardware.

  • Sugar Activities Portal from Sugar Labs is a portal for uploading and download learning activities. is inspired by and shares code with Children's computers are tools on which they learn, work, and play. They should be able to customize them to their personal styles of learning, working, and playing. The activities portal makes it easy for them to personalize their Sugar experience.

  • The Men's Wearhouse Moves Picking Operations to Linux with AL Systems
    AL Systems, the leading supplier of software solutions for improving distribution, is pleased to announce that it is now providing pick, pack and warehouse control software solutions to Men's Wearhouse on the Linux operating system.

  • Arch User Magazine Issue 3
    Take a walk on the bleeding edge

    This month brings you the usual great stuff plus…

    * Better Fonts for the Web * Living at the Command Line: History Modifiers * Lessons in VIM: The Basics * and a special interview


  • Desktop

    • Judgement Day: Studio Dave Tests Ubuntu Studio 9.04
      I need at least one i386 installation here at Studio Dave because some production software is not yet 64-bit ready, and I happen to need that software. SuperCollider3 can run on a 64-bit system, but only after some tricky maneuvers; the label printing programs for my Lightscribe drive are 32-bit only; and VST/VSTi audio plugins still work best in a pure 32-bit system. My main production machine runs a pure 64-bit distribution (64 Studio), but an i386 box is still required for the complete Studio Dave.

    • Linux Makes the Grade in California Schools
      Beyond slashing the costs of Microsoft licenses, taking giant steps away from Windows permits the schools to hold on to their software investments. Particularly with LTS versions of Ubuntu, older software "doesn’t stop getting supported, the way it does in Windows," he said. Moreover, proposed changes to the OS "are examined in light of how they might potentially break other things."

      Also as Erickson sees it, thin client systems can produce additional cost savings by providing better energy efficiency than Windows PCs.

      "Schools these days just don’t have all that much to spend. They can apply the money they save from LTSP to other needs, such as books," he observed.

      "The use of Linux and open source also gives schools a chance to collaborate with others, no matter where in the world those schools are located."

    • Get a Linux-powered Dell laptop for $299
      The real consideration for most buyers is that the Inspiron 15n runs on Ubuntu Linux 8.10--a great operating system by all accounts, but no good if you need to run Windows apps. (I know, I know, there's always WINE, but I don't consider that a viable solution for everyday users. Yell at me in the comments if you disagree.)


      If you think you'll go that route, I highly recommend spending an extra $35 to upgrade the Inspiron's Celeron processor to a 2GHz Pentium Dual Core T4200. The Celeron's fine for Linux, but a weakling for Windows.

    • Code Talks
      From time to time, people jump up and say that free software usability suck. That’s sometime true. I should also note that I’m writing this post using Mac OS X (often considered a champion of usability), and that sucks also, I assure you.

    • Invisible force Destroying the Status Quo
      Here's the bottom line pal. People across the globe are weary of doing the Windows Shuffle. Patches, updates, virus definition downloads, anti-virus apps that clog and defile their registries. While many have discovered that Linux is more than suitable for more complex tasks, they are finding that they don't have to pay in time and money to do the few things they do on a computer.

      Besides...If you read the various EULA's from Microsoft and still find comfort in using Windows, then there is not much that can be done for you.

      Dan Fields has read have many of our clients. The mildest reaction has been disgust.

      So it seems that the uncounted are the ones that will destroy the status quo...nameless, faceless computer users who quietly cut their chains and walked away from servitude.

    • A Journey into Linux
      And I may upgrade my Laptop to Ubuntu 9.04, as it really is a gorgeous-looking OS that seems to have good speed, lots of support and access to every program you would ever need for most tasks.

    • DIY Dual Atom Nettop System
      Wow! It booted right up! Ubuntu saw all the hardware just fine, and even reported the CPU as a Quad-Atom system! Intel says that the hyperthreading in the Atom causes the Dual CPU to appear as four processors, so that is normal. I went ahead and installed Ubuntu, and was finished with that in 15 minutes, as usual. Boot the installed system, do my normal configuration and package installations, and it looks very, very good. Programs start and run quickly, including Firefox, Thunderbird and

  • Server

    • 200+ Microsoft Partners Per Month Flocking to Sell IBM Lotus Foundations Appliance
      Facing waning demand for Microsoft products and growing interest in Linux, in the first five months of 2009 more than 1,000 Microsoft Business Partners have signed up to sell IBM's Lotus Foundations ( "office-in-a-box" appliance for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).

    • Cray sells Opteron-Linux super to Swiss boffins
      Hitachi IT Operations Analyzer - 30-day free trial

      The Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS) in Lugano has coughed up some serious Swiss francs to buy a Cray 141.6 teraflops XT5 system, dubbed Monte Rosa.

      The deal comes in part from the fact that Thomas Schulthess, director of CSCS and a professor of physics at ETH Zurich, took over the lab after a stint at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the U.S. government has paid for the "Jaguar" massively parallel 1 petaflops Opteron-Linux XT5 supercomputer.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • The Three Best Linux Media Centers
      Let me first start off by saying that someone is likely going to be very angry at me for omitting program x, y, z or Miro. Please express that anger in the comments below. The three media centers I list are my favorites. All of them integrate easily with MythTV by adding a simple menu item, and each work greats with remotes and looks good on your TV. MythTV itself might qualify in this category. However, I find Myth makes a good OS (mythbuntu) and PVR (with a great web interface), but I think it is fairly awful at organizing your media and playing web vids. So, I leave it out of the media center category. I personally run a Mythbuntu system with the following three media centers installed on top of MythTV to organize my local media and watch web content.

    • New cool list of Linux must-have programs
      It's been approximately two years since I've written the first article, A (cool) list of Linux tools. The article proved quite popular with my audience, as it allowed Linux users, new converts in particular, a quick taste of some of the more useful programs available for Linux platforms, across a range of categories.

    • Web development made easy with Bluefish and KompoZer
      If you're interested in starting a website, then Bluefish and KompoZer should get you started - and much more. If you're more experienced and geared toward dynamic websites, Bluefish seems a better candidate. If you're a novice or prefer a simpler interface, with fewer options, you should use KompoZer.

      Still, neither Bluefish nor KompoZer will force you to use the advanced features, if you don't feel like it. You can keep them away and start using them once you get confident enough with HTML. This promises an adaptive learning curve best suited for your needs.

    • AbiWord - the underestimated word processor
      AbiWord is small, light, fast, free, cross-platform, portable, and will do everything you need, including unbelievable perks like equations in LaTeX, Computer Modern fonts or the presentation mode. It also supports many file formats, like DOCX, and right-to-left languages. All that in modest 25MB of space, either on Windows, Linux or Mac.

      Sounds like a definite keeper.

    • Miro - Internet TV
      If you dislike the concepts of interactive media, Web 2.0 and whatnot, you will probably find Miro inadequate for your needs and prefer instead a more classic player, like perhaps Amarok or Totem or VLC. If you like to explore the Internet in search of movies and music, including only previews, teasers, short documentaries, news podcasts, and anything else that makes sounds or animates images, Miro will be a nice addition to your arsenal.

      It's streamlined and good-looking, it works well, it has numerous features that will make your quest for data faster and more pleasurable. Overall, Miro seems like an interesting program. Alongside Vuze, it should serve your Web needs well, especially if you prefer to do it without leaving your desktop and opening the browser.

  • Games

    • Expanding Warzone 2100
      The release of the new version 2.2 of the realtime strategy game Warzone 2100 comes with improvements in graphics and game-balance.

    • Droid Assault
      vadi4 let us know that Droid Assault, from Puppy Games, now works for Linux.

    • Crazynoid
      Yanick Bourbeau let us know that he has released Crazynoid, an Arkanoid-inspired game with 3D acceleration and a level editor.

    • The Egyptians are coming!
      Yes, you've guessed it! In 4.3 almost everything will look like it came straight from the grand museum in Cairo :D And here is a small preview of what to expect:

  • Desktop Environments

    • building brand together
      The KDE community has spent a lot of time and effort putting together things like the Oxygen icons and themes. This was done with the hope that we could build a common visual language, at least for the KDE software in the world and maybe even for some of the other F/OSS apps out there. We certainly did not put as much time and effort in the past into art and presentation as we have with KDE 4 (I think it shows) and this is a big part of the reason why.

    • 6 Beautiful ubuntu and gnome black themes
      Whatever operating systems we use, one day we get bored with the default theme or style present in it. To make it more pleasant while working with the computer, we need to do some color, wallpaper, font changes etc., The way the task bar, title bar and window panes appears needs some changes. Especially Linux users. If you are a ubuntu desktop user then here i listed some of the black (dark) themes i found across internet which might be interesting for you too.

  • Distributions

    • Resellers to trial Red Hat Enterprise Linux V5.3
      Cyrus Pestonji, manager for SMB and Channels, HP Technology Services said the trial will allow customers to test Linux and experience firsthand the IT business benefits that can be delivered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux on HP Blades.

      A free trial CD will ship with every Blade server shipped and includes details for installation and how to access free support from HP during the trial period.

    • Ubuntu

      • Review: Ubuntu 9.04
        In the end, Ubuntu wowed me, but not enough to overthrow Mint as the top recommendation for someone new to Linux. They are, however, quickly closing the gap. Ubuntu remains a top recommendation, together with Linux Mint, and Mandriva 2009 (I have not yet taken a look at 2009.1).

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 145
        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 145 for the week June 1 - 7, 2009. In this issue we cover Ubuntu Hall of Fame: Adi Roiban, Ubuntu Stats, Ubuntazo In Venezuela, Ubuntu Forums Tutorial of the Week, In the Press & Blogosphere, Upcoming Meetings & Events, Updates & Security, and much, much more!

    • New Releases

  • Devices/Embedded

    • High-end signage PC supplies four HDMI ports
      Ibase Technology is shipping an "ultra-compact" signage computer with independent HDMI outputs supporting 1080p resolutions. The SI-28 Signature Book 2 runs either a dual- or quad-core AMD Athlon, and offers an ATI E4690 GPU, gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports, and wireless options, says the company.

    • Elektrobit unveils MID reference design
      EB also offers design customization services for the device. The MID is optimized with a Linux-based user interface that is Moblin compliant.

    • Yazaki LCD Gauge Cluster Concept: Reconfigurable, Linux-Based, Looks Awesome
      Ford tossed down the gauntlet on gee-whiz dashboard gauge clusters with the Smartgauge in the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid. Now supplier Yazaki is going one step further with a fully-reconfigurable concept cluster running on Linux.

    • RoweBots Releases Ultra-Tiny Embedded-Linux€® RTOS for TI Stellaris MCUs
      RoweBots Inc., the leading supplier of tiny embedded Linux RTOS products, today announced the launch and release of Unison(TM), Version 4 for ARM Cortex-M3 processors. This ultra-tiny embedded-Linux compatible RTOS opens Texas Instruments Incorporated’s (TI) Stellaris microcontroller (MCU) families to Linux and POSIX compatible development for the first time.

    • Analysis: Intel rides Wind River beyond the PC
      Intel Corp.'s acquisition of Wind River Systems Inc. is another indicator of the sea change occurring inside the world's biggest semiconductor maker—along with the rise of Linux across all markets.

      The x86 giant is expanding beyond big custom processors for its core desktop PC market and into a variety of system-on-chip (SoC) designs targeting a wide range of mobile, consumer and embedded markets. The industry-wide shift to multicore processors is also driving a need for a whole new set of parallel software tools.

    • Palm

      • The Week of the Linux Desktop
        Palm started selling its ambitious new smartphone product this week to strong reviews. Palm has bet the company on the Pre and it shows. The device has tremendous potential with slick industrial design and a solid Linux based software platform.

      • Palm Pre Roundup: The Critics Have Spoken
        Palm also introduces a brand new operating system with the Pre, WebOS, something the company has been working on for a while now. Based on Linux and designed from grounds-up for a complete touchscreen experience (ahem, Nokia), WebOS is set to bring a user interface on par with iPhone's (at least), including something Apple's phone users don't enjoy yet - multitasking.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Wistron N900z: ARM-powered smartbook running Ubuntu
        The move to ARM processors will mean a drop in performance, but for people using these machines as they are intended they could be an inexpensive alternative to today’s netbooks. It may be tough to create another category, but an ARM-powered netbook could be the perfect option to carry around with you for light use as opposed to a three-plus pound netbook that only lasts for four or so hours and could easily cost over $400.

      • Freescale, Qualcomm mint smartbooks at Computex
        What's bigger than a smart phone, smaller than a notebook and different than a netbook? That's the description of a smartbook, a term Freescale and Qualcomm are minting at Computex for the ARM- and Linux-based portables their customers are designing.

        Intel popularized the term netbooks to refer to ultra small laptops, generally using its Atom processor and some version of Microsoft Windows. Compared to netbooks, smartbooks will be smaller, cheaper, and have longer battery life and instant-on capabilities, backers say.

        "We are re-labeling this category smartbooks," said Glen Burchers, a consumer marketing director for Freescale.

    • Android

      • Anyone for an Open Source Donut?
        Hot on the heels of Android 1.5, Google has demonstrated Android 2.0 in San Francisco. So what can we expect from the next generation open source smartphone OS and when can we expect it?

      • Android invades more netbooks, smartphones, and -- Moblin?
        At this week's Computex show, Intel demonstrated Moblin running Android apps in a simulator. Meanwhile, Android phones were confirmed by Acer and Garmin-Asus, Acer announced an Android version of its Aspire One netbook (pictured), and Asus provided a brief glimpse of an Android netbook, reports say.

      • Hypervisor spins virtual Android
        Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) is shipping an Android version of its Linux-compatible OKL4 hypervisor. "OK:Android" is an off-the-shelf, paravirtualized version of Android that enables Android to run as a guest operating system (OS) in a secure "hypercell" alongside another phone OS, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS and the Free Market
    In conclusion, the way the free market works makes it impractical to sell software itself. By taking software out of the market and into the hands of open source developers, we can let the market work the way it's supposed to.

  • BSD Advocacy and Breaking Through Market Barriers, Melanie Groves VonFange
    Firefox is the greatest example of open source success to date, and there are other projects who have made headway against proprietary applications. GIMP, is an open source alternative to Adobe's Photoshop. The GIMP graphic editor has a strong user base, flexible plugins, and community based documentation and tutorials. OpenOffice, sponsored in part by Sun Microsystems, has made some serious headway against its pricey proprietary counterpart, Microsoft Office. Ubuntu, a community developed, Linux-based operating system, has shown that open source operating systems are accessible to the average user. Ubuntu has helped to push the Linux market share to 1.06%, a record high. Use of the Windows operating system has declined to below 88% for the first time. The opportunity for other open source operating systems, such as the BSD family of operating systems, exists. The iron is hot and it is time to strike.

  • FLOSS Weekly 72: OpenSim
    Hosts: Randal Schwartz, Jono Bacon, and Leo Laporte

    OpenSimulator, the free and open source 3D application server program used to create virtual environments.

  • GIMP Animation Package 2.6.0 Released2009-06-05
    GAP 2.6.0 is a stable release of the video menu intended for use with the GIMP 2.6.x series.

    This release contains updates for video encoding/decoding, undo support for the storyboard feature and fixes for better compatibility with the GIMP 2.6.x releases. Please have a look at the NEWS file included in the download for a detailed list of changes.

  • Google's Long Shot At Kicking Microsoft Off The Desktop
    I think the answer lies with HTML 5-compliant mobile device browsers, a potential gold-mine which will attract a tsunami of developers large and powerful enough to rip the sails right off Microsoft’s boat. Gary had a lot to say about mobile browsers, and I’ll detail that in my next post.

  • Web

    • French government portal using Drupal
      After the French Ministry for Health, Youth and Sport using Drupal started using, the French government switched its official government portal to Drupal! Check it out at Impressionnant!

    • Facebook Goes Open Source Under CPAL
      However, to use this code, you'll need to be aware of the Common Public Attribution License (CPAL), which the Facebook Open Platform was released under.

  • Browsers

    • Mozilla Firefox

      • Mozilla JetPack: Lowering the Bar to Extend Firefox
        One of Firefox’s great advantages is the ability for users to create custom extensions. While add-ons have historically been non-trivial to write, Mozilla Labs is looking to make this considerably easier with JetPack.

      • Firefox 3.5: How Soon and How Big a Deal?
        With 3.5 looking like a compelling upgrade, the question arises, why didn't Mozilla just name the new browser Firefox 4?

        Beltzner noted that users have expectations about software and naming changes those expectations. For example, people expect Windows Vista to be different than Windows XP because they have different names.

        "I think people expect Firefox 4 to look and be a huge difference in the way they interact with the browser compared with Firefox 3," Beltzner said. "Firefox 3.5 is a decidedly better browser than Firefox 3, but your primary way of interacting with the browser is the same. So we wanted to set the expectation that this is a fantastic upgrade, but it's not going to break your world."

    • Google Chrome

      • Chrome on Linux: Rough, fast & promising
        I'd been waiting for Chrome on Linux since Chrome first showed up. Chrome, if you haven't tried it, is the speed-demon of Web browsers. I love it. But, until now, there really wasn't a version that would run natively on Linux. Starting last night, June 4th, Google released developer's versions of Chrome for Macs and Linux. They're rough, really rough, but they're also really fast. Here's what I found in my first hours of working with Chrome on Linux.

      • Get your Google Chrome on in Linux
        It is exciting to see such progress. I realize a lot of Linux users out there aren’t the biggest fans of Google. Those fans should at least give Chrome a try so they can see just what they will be missing. I have used Chrome on both Windows and Linux now and I can, without a doubt, the Linux version will blow away the Windows version. Of course from what I have seen the Linux version already is running better than the Windows version I used and I’m not supposed to be using the Linux version (It will probably install Windows on my machine while I am not looking.)

      • Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux: First Impression
        At present Chrome only supports Ubuntu 8.04 or Debian 5 and later. Its performance on Linux is decent. It loads the pages fast and starts almost instantly.

      • Google Chrome on Linux First Impressions and Screenshots
        So how unstable and incomplete is this developer version of Chrome? --At first, I didn't really notice its instability since it didn't crash on me. But upon checking my system stats, I found out that it is still (understandably) resource hungry as it is not efficient in utilizing RAM and CPU.

  • Business

    • Corporate participation in open source communities
      Someone recently asked me a few question about corporate participation in open source communities and I thought I'd share my thoughts on this topic here.

      Are there differences between an open source project done for a corporation and one done for personal reasons?

      There are many different ways to run an open source project, led by a corporation or by someone else. Some projects that are run by corporations have few outside contributors. This is often the case with projects that require copyright assignment (i.e. contributors have to assign their copyright to the corporation). These projects may not gain all the benefits of a true open source community, such as outside contributions or high levels of peer review. However, they may still be very successful projects and may have high levels of quality.

    • Open Source Adoption in Italian Public Administrations: Some Real Cases
      I opened the conference talking about the Italian scenario for the open source sector, and I started by showing the audience some SourceForge download numbers. Italy is the fourth country in the world for open source software downloads. Italy was used to be the third, but the impact of open source in Brazil is higher now.

  • Licensing

    • ASEAN Free Software Wishlist
      If someone was throwing money around to support the Free, Libre and Open Source Software community in the Australia and South East Asian Nations area (and I happened to be in the line of fire) I would probably use it to set up an ASEAN FLOSS Strategic Policy Centre (AFSPC doesn’t sound like the best acronym in the world, so I’d probably have to first hire a consultant to come up with a better name).

      The functions of AFSPC would include:

      * providing FLOSS related compliance assistance for local businesses; * providing FLOSS related education services for local businesses; * engaging in strategic thinking relating to FLOSS – had such an organisation been set up three years ago it would have had an excellent climate provided by the GFC for marketing the advantages of FLOSS;

    • Launchpad OpenSourcing
      How will it be open sourced ?

      Completely, with the exceptions of Soyuz (Ubuntu building service) and Codehosting services.

  • Openness

    • Collaborating with competitors
      From ancient philosophers to modern day journalists, the rules of engagement for discourse and collaboration have always been hot topics. In ancient times mass collaboration was limited to communities building churches, discussion in public squares, or monks taking turns to painstakingly write text. Today, in addition to facilitating public debate online, mass collaboration has the ability to build robust and super efficient software. Collaboration is central to Day Software’s ethos. Not only is Day Software born through mass collaboration but its software has social collaboration central to its user experience. We also embrace collaboration with our competitors. The last area is one I want to focus on for this post.

  • Programming

    • Ben and Dion and JavaFX and Ajax
      Ben took the Ajax side and Dion JavaFX’s; I see that they switch roles. I’m not going to walk through the debating points, and since I haven’t had any FX hands-on, I wouldn’t have much to offer as to the rights and wrongs. Ben and Dion probably feel they left the case for JavaFX in a heap of smoking ruins.


      I don’t see the competition among models for GUI construction as particularly central to progress on the Web—I trust the market to pick what works—but Larry Ellison picked this topic to highlight. Ben and Dion owe Larry a vote of thanks for cranking up the spotlight on their hobby-horse, I’d say. And FX’s advocates need to figure out some snappy comebacks PDQ.

    • Java One - Larry Ellison on Java

    • Oracle's Java plans sound familiar — and so will the response
      Slimmer operating systems that trade functionality for ease of use will be more popular, but I don't think they'll be run on brand new hardware: Instead we'll end up reusing older hardware to do the same job. Installing Linux and other open source operating systems is far, far easier than it was ten years ago, and hardware support is on a par with proprietary operating systems. Hardware you've already paid for is cheaper than any new hardware, no matter how compact and inexpensive.

      So sorry, Larry, but you're still not going to be able to sell us lots of Oracle- (or Sun) branded network computers. The only consolation is that we might still see the end of Microsoft's dominance of the business desktop.


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