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Links 16/3/2010: Amarok 2.3.0, SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Preview



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Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Fluendo Launches the Ultimate Media Center for Linux Operating Systems
    Fluendo has announced the release of its Media Center, a software application developed by the Spanish company. Fluendo Media Center’s versatility was evident from the off when it was used for reproducing a whole manner of multimedia in a variety of devices using completely different platforms. Whether on Windows or Linux; on netbooks, mobile internet devices (MIDs), notebooks or set-top boxes, Fluendo Media Center demonstrated not only its outstanding adaptability, but also its multiple features, attractive graphics and user-friendly interface. This first release will only be operational on Linux distributions but it is expected to get the application running on Windows in the near future.


  • Linux desktop innovations to look forward to
    These are testing times: if you want to experience the latest advances on the Linux desktop, you have to be prepared to test things and accept that stability is a secondary feature.

    The continued development of KDE 4 is the perfect example. Many of its users have felt like guinea pigs over the last couple of years, while its developers have filled in the missing blanks on the path to a fully operational desktop.




  • Security

    • Multi-user Security in Linux
      There are certainly ways to prevent users from running downloaded programs, but in the end, the multi-user security of a system will depend on security of every piece of software installed. Preventing the exploits from being successful, a la SELinux, adds the most viable method of protection. Coupled with a frequently updated system, additional restrictions such as rbash aren’t generally necessary.


    • Collection of security checks for Linux
      The aim of Buck Security is, to allow you to get a quick overview of the security status of your system. As a Linux system administrator - but also as a normal Linux user - you often wonder if your system is secure. In this situation it is useful to get an overview of the security status of the system immediately. Buck Security was designed exactly for this. It runs important tests and returns the results to you after a couple of minutes.


    • Got Security? You're in Denial








  • Desktop

    • An adventure with an HP printer/scanner and Ubuntu
      Now smug with the ease with which that had worked I started installing the HP driver software on a popular proprietary operating system so I could use it to configure the printer’s WiFi feature (something I assumed I couldn’t do from within Ubuntu – an assumption that turns out to have been wrong). Ten minutes later it was still finishing off the install process, but eventually I did get the printer hooked up to our wireless network.

      Back to the Lucid machine, I told it to add a new printer, it immediately saw the HP announcing itself on the network and let me quickly add that and I could print over wifi. Pretty nifty stuff.

      [...]

      So there we have it, out of the box I was up and running within 10 seconds of plugging the device in, and if I’d known to just install hp-toolbox I would have had everything running wirelessly a few minutes later.


    • Donate Your Old Hardware


    • Dell Still pricing Linux higher than Windows on same hardware
      We, my partner and I receive a regular advertising newsletter from Dell, because our company is on their mailing list, apparently although we have never purchased a single Dell, we are one of their best customers (the deal is offered to quote "our best customers"). The latest one was pushing a special rate on Dell Laptops and desktops with Windows 7, around $1750. So I rang the up and asked for a price with Linux.






  • Africa

    • Linux in the developing world - Can the community help spread it?
      If you live in a "well to do" country for instance, downloading 600MB of data might be a matter of minutes, but to those of us who only have 1GB of bandwidth for a whole month, it generally is out of the question. This first bottleneck alone puts Linux out of the use of most people in developing parts of the world.


    • XO Laptops Have Transformed Ntugi Mixed Day School
      On my own behalf and on behalf of Ntugi Mixed Day School let me thank Upper Canada College and Mark Battley in particular for helping the school to get XO laptops. The laptops have boosted the morale of both students and teachers in the school.

      Some parents have transferred their kids from the neighbouring schools to our school because we are the only secondary school connected to Internet. This has raised the school enrollment from 4 classes to 6 classes. Students are using them, especially in Science and Geography. In the 2009 Science Congress, two projects scooped the best 2 positions in the District and were ranked No. 9 and 10 out of 102 in the Provincials. Previously, no Ntugi student had participated in Science Congress.

      [...]

      The Kenya National Examination Council has started registering students for the National exams online. Schools without Internet facilities are greatly challenged. As the Head of Ntugi Secondary School, I feel very humbled for this donation (laptops) as it has made my work very easy when registering students for the National exams. (K.C.S.E).








  • Server

    • Supercomputers run open source software
      ACCORDING TO Novell nine out of ten of the most powerful supercomputers in the world run open source software.

      The numbers come from the Top 500 supercomputers list, which shows that Linux powers nine of the top ten, and in total eighty five percent of the whole 500. In case you are wondering what this has to do with Novell, Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server runs on six of the top ten.








  • Kernel Space

    • More ATI Radeon KMS Power Management Fun
      Power management support within the Linux kernel for the ATI Radeon DRM driver has been in development for months and gone through several revisions, but with the forthcoming Linux 2.6.34 kernel there is initial ATI KMS power management support. For making the power management situation even better, over the weekend Alex Deucher of AMD has been working on another set of patches.


    • Linus Torvalds- The future of Linux
      In fifteen years, I expect somebody else to come along and say, hey, I can do everything that Linux can do but I can be lean and mean about it because my system won't have twenty years of baggage holding it back. They'll say Linux was designed for the 386 and the new CPUs are doing the really interesting things differently. Let's drop this old Linux stuff. This is essentially what I did when creating Linux. And in the future, they'll be able to look at our code, and use our interfaces, and provide binary compatibility, and if all that happens I'll be happy.








  • Applications







  • Desktop Environments



    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.3.0 "Clear Light" Released
        The Amarok team just released Amarok 2.3.0. It comes with many bugfixes and improvements such as a new funky toolbar and a rewritten file browser featuring much better integration with the rest of Amarok. Read the release notes and enjoy rediscovering your music!


      • Second Krita Sprint Ends With Tea
        It's Sunday now in Deventer and, except for Lukas Tvrdy, all Krita hackers have gone home -- or, in the case of your author, stayed home. Time for tea and writing a recap of the whole sprint and hackfest!








    • GNOME Desktop









  • Distributions



    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst to Open 2010 Open Source Business Conference with Keynote Address on Why Open Source is More Critical Than Ever
        Red Hat, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 30.76, 0.00, 0.00%) , the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that President and CEO, Jim Whitehurst, will deliver the opening keynote address at Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) 2010. OSBC brings together open source vendors, customers, partners and community members to share strategies and hear the most current thinking on open source from the top experts in the field.


      • Opinion: RHEL 5 turns 3, Suggestions for Red Hat
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (Tikanga) was released on March 14, 2007 and yesterday was RHEL 5's 3rd birthday. Since then we have gotten 4 update releases.

        Given the fact that Red Hat's original plan was to have a new RHEL release every 18 - 24 months, one has to wonder where RHEL 6 is and why it is so late. My best guess is that RHEL 6 (which so far has had a non-public alpha release within Red Hat as witnessed in some Bugzilla reports) will come out sometime this summer... possibly in time for the Red Hat Summit in Boston (June 22-25, 2010). For that to happen I would expect a public beta for RHEL 6 to be released in the not too distant future. We'll see how that pans out.








    • Debian Family

      • First Glance at SimplyMEPIS 8.5
        All Linux users have their own vision of the ideal distribution. Some people crave stability, others want new and exciting features, some people are very security focused and others are concerned about licensing. Warren Woodford has his own vision and he's made it accessible to the world via MEPIS. This week he was willing to take a few minutes to talk about his creation.




      • Ubuntu

        • And The Reason Why The Metacity Window Buttons Are On The Left In Ubuntu 10.04 Is...


        • Ubuntu forgets to add new system sounds for Lucid…


        • Dynamic Ubuntu Sun- Theme that changes depending on the time day


        • Shuttleworth says progress made on distribution cadence
          Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, says some progress has been made towards what he calls cadence, an alignment of versions and release schedules, between distributions, even though his earlier proposals of a formal alignment between Debian and Ubuntu were not taken up. He points to an informal synchronisation between Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Debian Squeeze on the Kernel, GCC, Python, OpenOffice.org, Perl and Boost versions, as an example of progress.


        • Adventures with Ubuntu Karmic Koala
          My laptop is an HP Pavilion dv6 2020ax and the Ubuntu version I tried to install was Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.


        • Running Alpha Lucid on the Dell T7500
          The T7500 is just stupid fast, and Lucid’s a nice interface for the hardware. I don’t have enough up and running yet to do any legitimate comparative benchmarking versus my usual hardware, but it’s impressive even on trivial applications. The disk usage analyzer, for example, scans the entire filesystem in less than ten seconds; with either of my old machines, runtime was a minute to two, depending on what else was running.


        • Ubuntu 10.04: Waiting for the Lucid Lynx
          I'm particularly interested in this particular release of Ubuntu since I've been using the previous Ubuntu LTS 8.04 Hardy Heron and am looking forward to upgrading. For those of you in the same boat, if you want to keep current on the moment-by-moment (almost, anyway) changes to Lucid, you can sign up to receive email notifications.

          Waiting for something can be difficult and, after all, in the world of technology, six-weeks is almost an eternity. If patience is your virtue though, April 29th is right around the corner.
















  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based tool simplifies Cell processor programming
      Codeplay’s Offload programming tool suite is available for the development of software for Cell Broadband Engine powered devices running under Linux.

      The Offload tool suite provides a Windows-based GCC SDK so that code can be offloaded to the SPUs on the Cell Broadband Engine.

      It uses the Eclipse CDT and the Offload Player Debugger for executing and debugging code on the target Cell Broadband Engine hardware.




    • Phones

      • Desktop Linux without the desk.
        Now all we need is a Maemo 5 port of Gnumeric for spreadsheets. Since there’s already a version for previous-gen tablets that shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

        As stated off the top of the post, this is but a taste of the wondrous FLOSS apps available for the N900. If there’s something specific that you’re looking for leave me a comment below and I’ll see if it’s available…




      • Android

        • 10 Android Apps You Need To Download NOW!
          Have you ever seen one of those lists on a tech site giving you this list of apps that they claim are the end-all-be-all of lists? The type of article that swears up and down that what they are telling you is for your own good, and that the author knows everything about all of the apps in the Market? Yes? Great! Here's another one!


        • BlackBerry Users Pine for Android
          A recent Crowd Science study indicates that BlackBerry users have wandering eyes and are considering other platforms for their next handset. Roughly 1/3rd of BlackBerry owners would switch to an Android phone, specifically the Nexus One. According to Crowd Science CEO John Martin, this indicates a restlessness with the current brand and allure of other platforms. On the other hand, Android users are very loyal to their handsets. Roughly 90% of those surveyed planned to stay with green robot-powered phones.
















Free Software/Open Source

  • Banish boring terminal windows with Bashish
    Swedish student Thomas Eriksson says a lot of advanced computer usage is still best done from the terminal. Given that, he’s developed Bashish to provide a more useful and beautiful terminal environment.

    Bashish is a theme engine for the console, providing themes with different colors, fonts, and cool-looking graphics. The name Bashish is a play on bash (the Bourne Again SHell), the hash symbol (# - the root indicator in bash and tcsh), and hashish. Think of it as an addictive terminal theme utility. But it’s not just eye candy – Bashish can also provide useful visual feedback. For instance, it can change colors, font, transparency, and background image on a per-application basis.


  • Open source enables innovation without lawyers or fees
    Committed to freely providing software code back to developers and customers, open source followers often passionately evangelise its benefits over the licensed software model.

    However, Mr Burkhardt -- previously chief technology officer at the New York Stock Exchange, where he established an open-source IT shop -- rejects the fervent approach, saying open source is a "pragmatic decision".

    He says proprietary software innovation is driven by commercial return and legal protection, which is supported by costly, ongoing licensing fees.


  • the_source Episode 11 "Open Source Around The House" Released
    Join me on a tour of my house as I show how I use open source software in nearly every room. This episode also is the first to use my new intro. This episode is NOT sponsored by the Apple iPad.


  • Alfresco Continues Open Source Partner Momentum
    Alfresco Software, which specializes in open source enterprise content management, says it more than doubled its partner network in 2009. But here’s the really interesting part: Alfresco partners are earning $10 to $15 worth of services for every dollar of Alfresco Enterprise subscriptions sold. Here are the details.




  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Launches Firefox Mobile Add-On Challenge
      Mozilla has launched a contest to spur on development of add-ons for its recently-released Firefox for Mobile browser. Between now and April 12, developers are encouraged to create extensions or other add-ons tailored for the mobile browser. The top ten submissions (as judged by Mozilla's Add-ons and Mobile teams) will each be awarded a package containing a Mozilla t-shirt, phone case, and a brand-new Nokia N900 phone -- which runs the Maemo mobile Linux operating system and was the very first device to support Firefox for Mobile.

      The goal of the contest is to extend Firefox in innovative ways that take special advantage of the fact that the browser is mobile: the small screen size, the touch-screen interface, and the out-and-about nature carrying the browser in your pocket. Complete rules for the contest are available on developer.mozilla.org and specify compatibility and UI style guidelines. The contest is for add-ons which in Mozilla parlance includes both extensions and media plugins, though most of the discussion centers on extensions. The judges indicate three areas which they are most interested in seeing add-ons break new ground: using native device APIs, photo / media / social sharing tools, and session- and file-saving tools.






  • Programming

    • Introducing the PyPy 1.2 release
      We are pleased to announce PyPy's 1.2 release. This version 1.2 is a major milestone and it is the first release to ship a Just-in-Time compiler that is known to be faster than CPython (and unladen swallow) on some real-world applications (or the best benchmarks we could get for them). The main theme for the 1.2 release is speed.








Leftovers

  • Celebrity death match: HTML5 Vs Flash
    So, Steve Jobs’ grunting about CPU hoggage don’t quite hold water apparently. Then again, did anyone really expect his aversion to Adobe’s flash to come down to anything less than politics?


  • Comcast CEO defends NBC deal, unsure on Hulu
    Comcast CEO Brian Roberts headed back to Capitol Hill on Thursday to defend his company's proposed merger with NBC Universal, offering what by now are familiar assurances that the combined company won't use its market power to bully smaller cable competitors, raise prices for consumers or restrict access to Internet video.


  • Dot Com Turns 25: How Failure Turned to Success
    The very first dot com domain symbolics.com was registered 25 years ago today on March 15, 1985. From that event a quarter century ago, there are now over 192 million total domain name registrations, with some 96.7 million domain names that are registered as dot com or dot net.


  • Walmart fires employee with inoperable brain tumor for legally using marijuana outside of work
    Joseph Casias has sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor and takes medical marijuana, which is legal in Michigan. He was fired from the Michigan Walmart where he had been working for the last five years after he failed a drug screening test there.




  • Science

    • SETI at 50
      Are we alone in the universe? That’s the big question the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) seeks to answer, and so far the answer appears to be yes. In the half-century since Frank Drake first used a radio telescope to begin searching for alien radio signals, there has been no message from ET—indeed no artificial radio traffic of any description.








  • Security

    • Iran hacks US spy sites, arrests 30 activists
      Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hacked into 29 websites affiliated with US espionage networks, Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.


    • Car dealer alleges Carrollton police roughed him up; incident reports differ
      Staten's attorneys said their client was racially profiled by Carrollton police when they spotted him in a shopping center one afternoon after he changed the license plates, as required by law, on a blue 1997 Geo Prizm. Staten was waiting to deliver the car to a client who was getting a cashier's check at a nearby bank.


    • DNSSEC Moving Ahead at .Org and ICANN
      Since at least the summer of 2008, when security researcher Dan Kaminksy disclosed a critical vulnerability in DNS, the global Internet domain routing ecosystem has been moving to implement DNSSEC, which provides is a digitally signed mechanism to authenticate the integrity of DNS information, secure the system and prevent attacks.


    • The Future of Botnets
      A lot of people in the security industry are paid to think like attackers: pen testers, security consultants, software security experts. But some of these people have never met an actual black hat, so much of their work is necessarily based on what they think attackers might do in a given situation.

      Considering the stakes in today's security game, gleaning intelligence from professional attackers is an invaluable experience for researchers on the other side of the ball. Robert Hansen, a security researcher and CEO of SecTheory, has been doing just that in recent months, having a series of off-the-record conversations with spammers and malicious hackers in an effort to gain insight into their tactics, mindset and motivation.


    • Conversations With a Blackhat
      So let’s say I’m badguy1 who wants to break into one or more companies of interest. Sure, I could work for days or weeks and maybe get into one or both of them, but at the risk of tipping my hand to the companies and there’s always a chance I’ll fail entirely. Or I could work with badguy2 who has a botnet. I could simply give a list of IPs, domains or email addresses of known targets to the bot herder and say that instead of paying a few cents to rent some arbitrary machine for a day, I’ll pay thousands of dollars to get a bot within the company I’m actually interested in.


    • Crooks plant fake payment card terminals at multiple stores
      Crooks planted bogus payment card processing terminals at multiple locations operated by the Hancock Fabrics chain store that allowed for the theft of sensitive financial data from customers, the company warned.








  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • US Intelligence Planned To Destroy WikiLeaks
      This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN), 32-page US counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks (PDF). 'The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the US government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out.' It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses 'trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whistleblowers,' the report recommends 'The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.' [As two years have passed since the date of the report, with no WikiLeaks' source exposed, it appears that this plan was ineffective.] As an odd justification for the plan, the report claims that 'Several foreign countries including China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe have denounced or blocked access to the Wikileaks.org website.' The report provides further justification by enumerating embarrassing stories broken by WikiLeaks — US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.


    • US spooks plotted to destroy Wikileaks
      In this two-year-old classified Army Counterintelligence Center report (hosted on wikileaks.org, where else?), American spooks set out to destroy Wikileaks by intimidating its sources. They cite as justification for this the fact that Wikileaks has outed American embarrassments and crimes including "US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay."


    • China warns Google to obey rules even if it pulls out
      Google should obey Chinese government rules even if it decides to retreat from the country over hacking and censorship complaints, a Chinese government spokesman said on Tuesday.


    • Facebook users warned over stalk-my-profile scam
      A bogus application that lures Facebook users by falsely offering to show who has been viewing their profile has been exposed as a scam.


    • Facebook removing stalker applications
      Facebook says it is "aggressively disabling" applications that claim to allow users to see who is viewing their profile.


    • While Facebook & Twitter Sit on Sidelines, MySpace Jumps Into Bulk User Data Sales
      Those updates will now be available for bulk analysis.








  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Tell the copyright czar how US enforcement should work: 9 days left!
      You've got nine days left to file comments for Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration's new copyright enforcement czar, and her department's inquiry on how the US should best enforce copyrights. Given that the president himself has spoken out in favor of the secret and sinister Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (AKA ACTA -- a punishing copyright treaty that seeks to expand the American DMCA and push it around the world), and that he plans to bring it down by executive order, without an act of Congress, this is especially urgent.


    • IFPI says labels DO invest in music
      It sounds like an obvious thing to say, right? Of course labels invest in music and the artists who make it: that’s the definition of a record label.


    • Film Review at Heart of Suit Against Variety
      In a step that is unusual even for litigation-heavy Hollywood, the maker of “Iron Cross,” a small independent film that has yet to find a distributor, charged in a complaint filed on Tuesday that the trade paper Variety had damaged the movie.


    • Pirate Bay legal action dropped in Norway
      Copyright holders have given up legal efforts to force Norwegian ISP Telenor to block filesharing site The Pirate Bay, one of the parties to the case said.

      The copyright holders, led by Norway's performing rights society TONO and by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Norway (IFPI Norge) Norway have lost two rounds in the Norwegian court system, and have now decided against appealing the case to Norway's supreme court, the organisations said.


    • A Barcelona judge confirms the legality of P2P in Spain










Clip of the Day



Episode 11 - "Open Source Around The House"

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