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Links 20/12/2009: Arora 0.10.2 Out; Pixel Qi Display with Linux



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Contents





GNU/Linux

  • 10 important Linux developments everyone should know about
    The Linux€® technology, development model, and community have all been game-changing influences on the IT industry, and all we can really do is stand back and look at it all, happy to have been along for the ride for developerWorks' first 10 years. The Linux zone team has put together this greatly abbreviated collection of things that stand out in our minds as having rocked the world of Linux in a significant way.

    Much too much has happened with Linux in the last 10 years to do anything like a complete job of listing the important events and technological advances surrounding this operating system. But nevertheless, in celebration of our 10th birthday, the Linux zone team looks back and presents to you some major milestones, why they matter, and what we wrote about them. Please to enjoy.


  • From windows to Linux. Was there a choice?
    Currently I think that, until Linux came along, the normal pc user didn't have a choice in operating systems. They had windows and whether they liked it or not they were stuck with it. Now that Linux has evolved into a useful package which anybody can use, people do have a viable choice and they are choosing it.

    Tell us. Do you use windows only because you didn't think you had a choice? Now that you have a choice and you can choose to use Linux, BSD or windows, has that available choice effected your decision? Do you think differently about your operating system now that you know there are alternatives?


  • Defensive Computing Priorities
    I know this is extreme, but I'm far from the only person offering this advice. Firefox, running off a bootable copy of Linux on a CD, USB flash drive or SD memory card can be your best friend. For more, see my trio of articles on this at eSecurity Planet:

    * Consider Linux for Secure Online Banking August 2009 * Windows and Online Banking: A Dangerous Mix October 2009 * Online Banking: Taking Issue With The New York Times December 2009

    There are so many choices and options. Hopefully this list will help you prioritize your time and money.




  • Applications







  • Devices/Embedded

    • UEIPAC 2.0 Linux-based PAC now available in All UEI PPC-Based Chassis
      United Electronic Industries (UEI) released Version 2.0 of its UEIPAC Programmable Automation Controller. Some of the new features of the popular Linux-based controller are:




    • Android

      • Notion Ink Tegra Android smartpad uses Pixel Qi display
        The big issue remaining is price, and so far we’re not sure exactly what sort of MRSP Notion Ink expect their Android Tegra tablet to command. The general consensus seems to be that a $300 price point is roughly what the market expects; however we’re not sure everything on the smartpad’s spec-sheet could be brought in for that price, at least not without carrier subsidies. We’ll update with more information when we have it, together with video.


      • 10 Best Free Android Applications
        Before, we have featured here several killer apps for Android. Now that there are a growing number of third-party applications that are made for the Android platform, let's take a look at a few of them.

        The following are some of the best Android apps that you can get for free...








    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 review
        The N900 is Nokia’s most hyped phone this year, running on the Linux-based Maemo OS. Does it show that Symbian should be scrapped or is it just another touch screen disappointment? We review the N900 to find out.

        Nokia’s recent news that it may make the move from Symbian to Maemo for all its smartphones won’t come as a disappointment to those who have been tut tutting over Symbian’s antiquated S60 OS.


      • Get Review of Nokia N900
        On the first note, Nokia’s N900 is a highly successful handset that came in the market. It is full packaged smartphone comprised with speedy multitasking, complete range of applications desired, big screen and large storage capacity. The only things which slightly letdown in the handset are it’s less than pocket able size and shirk keyboard.








    • Sub-notebooks

      • 400 OLPC XO laptops to primary school children
        The first Sri Lankan project of the internationally lauded One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation was officially launched on Thursday with "over 400" primary school children being presented OLPC XO laptops “personally” by the country's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to a statement by the local arm of OLPC.










Free Software/Open Source

  • A Concise Introduction to Free and Open Source Software


  • A Concise Introduction to Free and Open Source Software [Direct link]
    Abstract: In the early days of information technology (IT), computers were delivered with operating systems and basic application software already installed, without additional cost, and in editable (source code) form. But as software emerged as a stand-alone product, the independent software vendors (ISVs) that were launched to take advantage of this commercial opportunity no longer delivered source code, in order to prevent competitors from gaining access to their trade secrets. The practice also had the (intended) result that computer users became dependent on their ISVs for support and upgrades. Due to the increasingly substantial investments computer users made in application software, they also became "locked in" to their hardware and software vendors' products, because of the high cost of abandoning, or reconfiguring, their existing application software to run on the proprietary operating system of a new vendor. In response, a movement in support of "free software" (i.e., programs accompanied both by source code as well as the legal right to modify, share and distribute that code) emerged in the mid 1980s. The early proponents of free software regarded the right to share source code as an essential freedom, but a later faction focused only on the practical advantages of freely sharable code, which they called "open source." Concurrently, the Internet enabled a highly distributed model of software development to become pervasive, based upon voluntary code contributions and globally collaborative efforts. The combined force of these developments resulted in the rapid proliferation of "free and open source software" (FOSS) development projects that have created many "best of breed" operating system and application software products, such that the economic importance of FOSS has now become very substantial. In this article, I trace the origins and theories of the free software and open source movements, the complicated legal implications of FOSS development and use, and the supporting infrastructural ecosystem that has grown up to support this increasingly vital component of our modern, IT based society.


  • Renaissance in Impress for 3.3: Read the specification and post your feedback
    I know the holidays are drawing near and you are twiddling your thumbs, bored, not knowing what to do now that you already bought and wrapped all the presents and sent all the cards. ;-) Well, never fear! I have just the thing to keep you from falling asleep at your keyboard while watching animated snowfall.


  • Sun releases open source security tools to help firms build data clouds
    As part of its strategy to help firms build public and private data clouds that are open and interoperable, Sun Microsystems has unveiled a set of open source cloud security tools.


  • Third phase of open source: customer participation
    JP Morgan Chase led the way by open-sourcing its AMQP project. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has also jumped into the fray with Linux. Reuters has its OpenCalais project, a project that is even being used here at CNET.

    And so on. It's happening. It's real. And for those enterprises that jump into this third phase of open-source participation, the benefits promise to be palpable.


  • An integrated Atlassian thanks to OpenSocial (Q&A)
    Simons: The OpenSocial community is quite active. The Apache Shindig project is also quite active. The OpenSocial specification 1.0 (it's on v0.9 currently) should be released in January 2010.


  • Can going open save CAT?
    After the online CAT’s huge debacle on debut, the IIMs are reportedly planning to use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for next year’s test. FOSS will substitute the proprietary software in use right now to avoid system crashes in the future.

    This year’s CAT faced crash issues mostly due to attacks by viruses like Conficker and W32.NIMDA that hit several exam centres and slowed down systems which eventually led to cancellations at some centres.


  • 10 operating systems you've never heard of
    We're going to look at 10 of the most intriguing open-source operating systems in this brave new world. In most cases these are available as CD ISO images that you can burn to CD-Rs and boot up for testing if you fancy it.

    Alternatively, a simpler approach is to use a PC emulator such as VirtualBox or Qemu. With these and similar tools you can use '.iso' image files (or '.flp' floppy disc images) as virtual drives, so there's no need to write any physical media.




  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Fall 2009 [Bulletin]
      The Free Software Foundation Bulletin from December 2009, presented here for viewing online, or for download as a PDF file.








  • Openness

    • Parliament pushes for all EU documents to be made public
      EU access to documents laws should be widened to cover all European institutions, bodies and agencies following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, MEPs said yesterday (17 December), criticising the European Commission for failing to update the rules.


    • Time for a University Prepress?
      Given that the OU is a publication house, publishing research and teaching materials as a way of generating income, I wonder if there is an opportunity for the Library to support the research publication process providing specialist support for research authors, including optimising them for discovery!


    • Free Culture Gets Political
      For years, the free culture world was resolutely focused on building its eclectic array of commons projects — free software, open-access journals, wikis, and pools of creative works using Creative Commons licenses. History may record that the free culture reached a turning point in Barcelona, Spain, in November 2009. At the Free Culture Forum, a conference that just concluded this week, free culture activists from about twenty countries came together to assert a shared political and policy agenda.


    • Ransom America's public domain video treasures back from the National Archives!
      Background: these videos were made at US taxpayer expense, and they are in the public domain. However, they aren't distributed for free by the National Archives; instead they're sold through Amazon as a money-maker for the government, which charges you to get access to the stuff you already own and paid for. The Archives get a minuscule amount of money by doing this: $3,273.66 over the past two years! In order to make a measly three grand, the National Archives have closed off the entire USA's access to its video treasures.






  • Programming







Leftovers

  • Alisher Usmanov: The Scary Russian Oligarch Seducing Silicon Valley
    Alisher Usmanov is nicknamed "the hard man of Russia," but he's good at seducing the softies in California's tech community: An investment firm he backs lead a $180 million investment in Zynga, the gaming company that trafficked in scammy ads.




  • Google

    • Google To Acquire DocVerse; Office War Heats Up
      Google, which is currently on one heck of a spending spree, is closing an acquisition of San Francisco based DocVerse, a service that lets users collaborate around Microsoft Office documents, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the deal. The purchase price is supposed to be around $25 million.


    • Google Releases EtherPad as Open Source to Calm Users
      Google has released the source code of EtherPad, a Web-hosted word processor designed for real-time workgroup collaboration, in a move aimed at appeasing users of the product who complained about plans to discontinue it.


    • Google’s synchronicity
      On the latest This Week in Google, we talked about many of Google’s product announcements and enhancements and though none on its own was earthshattering, as we added them up, I started to see synchronicity approaching — all the moreso last night when TechCrunch reported that Google’s negotiating to buy Yelp.

      I see a strategy emerging that has Google profoundly improve search by better anticipating our intent and then moving past search to build hegemony in local and mobile (which will come to mean the same thing).








  • Police State

    • UK e-Borders scheme thrown into confusion by EU rules
      Conflicts with EU free movement rules have thrown the UK's €£1.2 billion electronic borders program into disarray.


    • Names of innocent people will stay on police database
      The names of nearly a million people who have not been convicted or cautioned for any crime will continue to be stored on the police national computer, even though the government is changing the law so that their DNA profiles are deleted.

      The revelation has provoked outrage among human rights groups who warn that it could affect the job prospects of the innocent. They fear that whenever an employer carries out an "enhanced criminal records" check on a potential employee, the system would flag up the fact that the person had been arrested.








  • Environment

    • Can We Redefine Prosperity? - Herman Daly - Towards a Steady State Economy
      As the holidays approach we will probably be highlighting some of our better content from years past. The below essay, on the day of Fed Chairman Bernanke's reappointment, is perhaps an apppropriate example of such. Originally from May 2008 the essay is written by Herman Daly, who popularized the term "Steady State Economy" over 3 decades ago. (Professor Daly subsequently contributed another TOD essay on the credit crisis). Just as Paul Volcker's recent comments are a refreshing departure from the garbage of Greenspan (who has been saying that market reflation creates its own wealth),


    • Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure
      The UN climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement in Copenhagen tonight, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come.








  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Chinese proposal to meter internet traffic
      China wants to meter all internet traffic that passes through its borders, it has emerged.

      The move would require international agreement - but it is being discussed by the United Nations body in charge of internet standards.


    • A Thinly Veiled Threat? Of What Exactly?
      Today I received the following communication via email from one of Nottingham City Council's senior solicitors.


    • Nottingham City Council Attacks Free Speech
      Nottingham City Council has made the unprecedented step of threatening a critical local blogger via its solicitors. In a letter sent to the author of the Nottingham City Council LOLs (NCCLOLs) blog, solicitor Jon Ludford-Thomas states that the blog "contains personal, derogatory comments regarding a number of [the City Council's] councillors and employees that could cause distress to those individuals." It requests that the author "remove these personal, derogatory comments from ncclols and refrain from posting similar such comments on ncclols or elsewhere on the internet."






  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • British Music Industry Sees Piracy Threat Beyond P2P
      A new survey carried out on behalf of the BPI in the UK indicates that despite best efforts, P2P use is not in decline. As the industry continues to drag its feet when it comes to competing against other suppliers of music online, many consumers are branching out and turning to several alternative methods for acquiring their sounds.


    • NSFW: Free as in “my publisher will disown me after I pirate my book on TechCrunch”
      Since moving to the US and started to write for TechCrunch, I now have more people reading my words each week in North America than I do in the UK. Every week I delight in annoying commenters by promoting my war-of-the-worlds-winning book, to the point where people seem genuinely upset when I miss an opportunity to do so. And yet barely a day goes by without someone telling me they tried to find my book in the US, only to be disappointed that – due to publishing’s ridiculous obsession with territories – it’s only available outside North America. “It’s available on the Kindle” I say. “Pft” they reply, “I don’t have a Kindle”. In most cases I end up emailing them a PDF – a distribution model that doesn’t really scale.


    • Holy See declares unique copyright on Papal figure
      The Vatican made a declaration on the protection of the figure of the Pope on Saturday morning. The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.










Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 05 (2004)

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

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