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Links 15/4/2010: GCC 4.5 Released

GNOME bluefish



  • Podcast Season 2 Episode 6
    In this episode: The Android-based WePad takes on the mighty Apple iPad while Nokia and Intel launch MeeGo. Hear the results of our music-making challenge and ask yourselves, is Linux sexy?

  • Why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker
    Let’s define what I mean by the term “hacker” first. There is so much FUD out there around this term. Large controlling institutions want you to fear hackers, want you to think the hacker mindset is dangerous. This could not be farther from the truth. Hackers are simply empowered individuals that want to figure things out for themselves. With hacker properly defined, let’s get to the meat, why I want my daughter to be a hacker:

    1. Hackers are not consumer lemmings – As large institutions continue to brainwash American citizens into becoming slaves to the systems they’ve created; hackers know that there is a life outside these systems of user dependence, a better life. Institutional dependence is literally killing us. Our dependence on the institutional food system has left us disease ridden and physically incapable. Dependence on western medical systems is bankrupting us. Our two major political parties both preach institutional dependence; one insists dependence on big government institutions, the other dependence on big corporate institutions. Hackers preach self and small community dependence. i.e. independence.

  • Cooking with Marcel
    In 1999, Gagné happened to get access to an advanced copy of Corel's NetWinder, a GNU/Linux-based appliance computer. He pitched a review to Marjorie Richardson, then editor-in-chief at Linux Journal, who rather tentatively told him to submit the review.

    "Well, it was a big hit," says Gagné. "I have an unusual style in presenting technical information, very tongue-in-cheek and irreverent. I don't have a classical approach to presenting technical information. I tend to think this stuff should be fun and approachable and readable.


    Gagné wasted no time finding new ways to occupy his writing time. He remains a much-in-demand speaker at conferences, and now writes for Linux Pro Magazine, and has recently become senior editor at its sister quarterly Ubuntu User, for which he also blogs.

  • Desktop

    • Testing a New Notebook
      He spake to me thusly, “Install Linux on it.” I advised him to consider dual booting or virtualizing GNU/Linux to try them both. I was asked to check out the possibilities.

    • Ready to switch to Linux?
      Tired of Windows? Ready to look for an alternative? As a desktop user there are really only two options: Linux or Mac OS X. The second pretty much requires that you buy some Apple hardware before you can run it. Linux, on the other hand, will run on most hardware, even some of the older hardware that lurks around homes and offices. Linux is also free to download so you can try it out before having to spend any money.

  • Kernel Space

    • Is Linux graying?
      Too old is, of course, a vague term. After all, Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator and leader, is just 40. Still, it is a clear that Linux's top kernel leaders aren't kids anymore.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman, a Novell engineer and head of the Linux Driver Project, replied, "Turnover at the upper level is not happening." James Bottomley, another Novell engineer and the Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board Chair, agreed that: "There are more gray beards. The graying of the Linux kernel is going to continue until people start dying."

    • You Can't Control Linux
      10 years ago, IBM had a single mission for Linux: Make it better. Now in 2010, IBM (NYSE:IBM) has a decade of experience in working to do just that, and is sharing its knowledge about how companies and developers can better participate in the Linux community.

      Speaking in a keynote session at the Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit, Dan Frye, vice president of open system development at IBM, provided his insights into some do's and don't when trying to work with Linux.

      For IBM, one of the hardest lessons it had to learn was one about control. Mainly, there is none.

      "There is nothing that we can do to control individuals or communities, and if you try, you make thing worse," Frye told the audience. "What you need is influence. It goes back to the most important lesson, which is to give back to the community and develop expertise. You'll find that if your developers are working with a community, that over time they'll develop influence and that influence will allow you to get things done."

      Frye noted during his keynote that an early question that IBM asked internally about Linux was how it could control a chaotic development process. As it turns out, Linux development isn't a chaotic process, though it may appear that way to some looking from the outside.

    • Linux Desktop Virtualization Shootout
      Computer Virtualization has many uses, from increasing server capacity and reducing power consumption to making it easier to test and develop software or to simply run a different Operating System on your computer. Virtualization has become an important aspect of the functionality of todays computers and computer Operating Systems. Many that are new to Linux or new to Virtualization often are overwhelmed by the number of Virtualization options the Linux Desktop has and often ask: "What Virtualization Solution is best suited for my needs". This article will hopefully answer this question and others like it.

    • Linux Foundation Head Says OS Can Be 'Fabulous and Free'
      Where is Linux headed? That's a question the Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, is focused on as his organization gears up for the Linux Collaboration Summit this week.

      In Zemlin's view, Linux is strategically placed at the intersection of a number of major IT trends that will serve to bolster adoption of the open source operating system. With the increasing growth of the mobile web and cloud services, Zemlin thinks Linux will end up the big winner.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Taking A Hit With ATI Graphics In Fedora 13 Beta
        In this article, we have ATI R500 tests using their open-source driver stack as we test out the OpenGL performance and the power consumption, compared to Fedora 12.

      • The Real Need For Nouveau Power Management
        We have already published a look at the Fedora 13 Beta, delivered ATI Radeon benchmarks atop Fedora 13 Beta, and have other articles on the way covering this new Fedora release, while in this article we are investigating Nouveau's power performance using this newest Fedora release. If you are a mobile user planning to use the Nouveau stack right now, or you care the least bit about energy savings with your desktop, its power consumption alone may rule this open-source driver out as even a current possibility.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Confessions of a Clonezilla addict
      I think I may be addicted to Clonezilla. I don’t know what the symptoms are, but if they include bouncing between operating systems more than twice a day, scrounging a 256Mb USB drive off your friends just to have one that exactly fits the Clonezilla boot image, or dedicating one whole external drive to an array of system backups spreading out over the last two or three months … then I’m in the club.

    • The Linux Alphabet
      We've already been talking about the number of Linux distributions, and the cost, in terms of confusion that so much freedom can bring. Today I'd like to see the distributions number with a little of humor: I often wondered if the Linux distributions names could cover the whole alphabet and be used as sort of “ spelling alphabet”. The answer is ... “Yes we can!” here is my personal list compiled after a little research on site.

      A - Arch Linux

      B - BackTrack

      C - CentOs

      D = Debian

    • Red Hat Family

    • Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Is That Embedded Software GPL-Compliant?
      Open source software is everywhere these days. In particular, Linux is being used increasingly to power embedded systems of all kinds. That's good, but it's also a challenge, because the free software used in such products may not always be compliant with all the licences it is released under – notably the GNU GPL. For companies that sell such embedded systems using open source, it can be hard even finding out what exactly is inside, let alone whether it is compliant.

    • Phones

      • Nokia

        • New Atom platform opens I/O to third parties
          Intel also announced today that Chinese auto manufacturer, Rongcheng HawTai Automobile will incorporate an in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI) system in its in its B11 luxury sedan (above) based on an Intel Atom processor and the Linux-based MeeGo stack.

        • MeeGo, Android operating systems takes stage at Linux conference
          Advocates for duelling open source mobile platforms Android and MeeGo championed their technologies on Wednesday, with a MeeGo spokesman offering a product roadmap, and a Google technologist emphasising Android's release schedule and addressing fragmentation questions.

          Both platforms were touted at The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit conference in San Francisco in separate presentations.

        • Google: Android, MeeGo don't have to fight
          Google open source chief Chris DiBona said he’s not in the killing business and expects that Android, MeeGo and other open source cell phone operating systems to play nicely together in the sandbox.

          “MeeGo doesn’t have to lose for Android to be great and Android doesn’t have to lose for MeeGo to be great,” DiBona told hundreds who gathered in San Francisco for the Linux Foundation’s :Linux Collaboration summit.

      • Android

    • Tablets

      • Toshiba prepping Android, Windows tablets
        The company already offers similar products, including the Journe Touch, in European markets. The device is focused on mobile Internet activities, running a version of Windows CE that does not support third-party apps. The US Android offering will take advantage of the range of content available through the respective Market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Your Site's FAQ Helpful or Useless? Improving the Lowly FAQ
    Gracey suggests that you ask whether you really need a FAQ or not. The answer for any FLOSS-related project is yes, yes you do. There's a strong expectation in the open source community that any project or product will have a FAQ associated with it, so it's a bad idea to skip them entirely.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox plugin decodes malicious Web sites
      A computer security researcher has released a plugin for Firefox that provides a wealth of data on Web sites that may have been compromised with malicious code.

      The plugin, called Fireshark, was released on Wednesday at the Black Hat conference. The open-source free tool is designed to address the shortcomings in other programs used to analyze malicious Web sites, said Stephan Chenette, a principal security researcher at Websense, which lets Chenette develop Fireshark in the course of his job.

  • Databases

    • Will enterprises support Drizzle?
      Former mySQL architect Brian Aker keynoted the mySQL Con in Santa Clara this week and pushed Drizzle, a mySQL fork he hopes to build a company around by the time of June’s OSCON in Portland.

  • Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google funds OGG Theora
      The player as well as development tools are freely distributed here. The OGG Theora codec takes its name from Theora Jones, Amanda Pays' character on "Max Headroom."


  • Street View photos used for amazing Google Earth 3D cities
    3D textured cityscapes are nothing new to Google Earth users: international cities such as New York have displayed this type of imagery for a while now. But now Google has made an important, but critical change to Google Earth - adding high resolution Street View imagery to existing 3D city textures and improving the resolution of the facades.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Somali radio stations bow to Islamist ban on music
      All but two stations in Mogadishu comply with order to cease broadcasts that militants say violate Islamic principles

    • Japanese Porn Actress Entices Chinese Net Users To Scale Great Firewall
      But apparently it's also helping teach Chinese folks how to scale the country's Great Firewall. A few days ago, the Twitter name of a Japanese porn actress got "discovered" in China, and thanks to her apparent popularity, tons of people started trying to access her Twitter page. Twitter, though, is blocked in China, and since the woman is a porn actress, information on her is blocked as it "could cause harm to youngsters' mental and physical well-being".

    • The End Of Impunity
      Right. Last week, on the eve of the Easter break, the summit of Ministers of Culture from the 27 European Union countries, and their meeting with the Forum of Cultural Industries, came to an end in Barcelona.

      The parallel citizen summit, the (D’) Evolution Summit – which was organized in order to put forward specific proposals and urgent demands on fundamental rights in Internet, and to give a real-time account of what was being said inside the official congress – allowed civil society to keep an eye on what was being said about its future.


      So for them, things didn’t go as planned.

      We were able to verify, live, that when they are watched over, our rulers are not able to favour private interests with impunity, or to implement simplistic control policies based on obsolete formulas.

      What we saw:

      1 – The speeches supporting the interests of lobbies start to get a bit uncomfortable. What they usually do behind closed doors (and will continue to do). turns against them when it is discussed in public and has to contend with arguments.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Homeland Security Depends On Broadcast
      More than eight years after 9/11 and four years after Katrina, the nation is no closer to providing reliable emergency information to its citizens, a population increasingly fractionalized by diverse electronic communication devices. As the nation looks toward a new broadband policy, it would do well to consider a policy that balances the strengths and weaknesses of broadband, of broadcast, and of the impact on homeland security.

    • Should the US govt force all cell phones to carry TV tuners?
      So it is The Year of Our iPad 2010, and we've all got mobile phones, netbooks, laptops, desktop computers, and hybrid devices like PS3s and Xboxes. Given all our gadgets, does this mean that in the event of a tornado or terrorist attack, we've got a better emergency information communications system?

    • How Third Party Liability Can Stifle An Industry
      An article in the Times Online highlights the situation in Ireland, where there aren't safe harbors against secondary liability for defamation -- and it's leading internet companies to blatantly censor or to avoid doing business in Ireland out of fear for the liability. Now, some in the entertainment industry seem to think this is just fine -- because they think that the internet should be a broadcast medium for the big "professional" producers of content, and all these internet companies and user-generated content things should really all fade away.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Entertainment Industry's Dystopia of the Future
      We're not easily shocked by entertainment industry overreaching; unfortunately, it's par for the course. But we were taken aback by the wish list the industry submitted in response to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator's request for comments on the forthcoming "Joint Strategic Plan" for intellectual property enforcement. The comments submitted by various organizations provide a kind of window into how these organizations view both intellectual property and the public interest. For example, EFF and other public interest groups have asked the IPEC to take a balanced approach to intellectual property enforcement, paying close attention to the actual harm caused, the potential unexpected consequences of government intervention, and compelling countervailing priorities.

    • Copyrights

      • 'Star Wars Uncut': Fans Recreate Classic Flick With Legos, Dogs, And More (VIDEO)
        If you haven't heard of "Star Wars Uncut," here's the deal: fans selected 15 second clips of "Star Wars: A New Hope" and reshot them in any style they wanted. The organizers then took each clip and pieced the whole movie together as seamlessly as they could. It's scheduled to premiere in Copenhagen in the near future. And when we say "Copenhagen," we mean "someone will bootleg and put online because the internet comes through every time."

      • YouTube 'Star Wars' Sensation Explains Copyright Issues

      • Pomplamoose: Making A Living On YouTube
        You can add the band Pomplamoose to the long and growing list of YouTube sensations, with its cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies." Its members don't have a record deal or a publicist, but that song's video has been viewed almost 4 million times on YouTube alone.

        Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn are Pomplamoose, and they recently sat down with Weekend All Things Considered guest host Linda Wertheimer to talk about their success. When it comes to Pomplamoose's videos, what you see is what you get.

      • Photographer Makes One-Third Of His Living Expenses Off Only 94 Fans

      • Copying Is Not Theft
        Big Media has been producing (mis)educational videos since it's early non-hit, "Don't Copy That Floppy." Most of us have seen those "Piracy: It's a Crime" clips that incorrectly equate downloading with stealing. The Copyright Alliance offers a whole series of propaganda videos for school children. It's no surprise that Big Media is ahead of ahead of copyright reform advocates in propaganda.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Why My Union Is Wrong
        Over at the Writers’ Guild website, Bernie Corbett (General Secretary of the WGGB) has written a piece called ‘In Defence of the Digital Economy Bill’). It fundamentally misunderstands both the effects of the legislation and the manner in which it was passed, and is a worrying display of ignorance of the facts and issues that surround the Bill. The Bill is bad, that my union should be so maladroit in its defence is worse.

        Mr Corbett begins by calling the Bill ‘much-debated’. This is a coy misdirection. Although the legislation has been much debated in various online forums it has not been afforded full debate in the place it should have been: Parliament. It was rammed through as part of the ‘wash-up’ process at the end of a Parliament despite being hugely controversial.

      • One Stupid Thing About The Digital Economy Bill
        This fails to take into account the fact that a family who has been disconnected because someone has infringed copyright aren’t doing the following. They aren’t downloading TV or songs from iTunes. They aren’t buying books or DVDs from Amazon. They are not listening to songs on Spotify. They aren’t watching ad-supported videos or reading blogs which are supported by GoogleAds. They aren’t bumping up viewing figures through iPlayer, 4OD or They aren’t downloading free samples of the things creators make to advertise what they are making. They aren’t watching movie trailers. They aren’t emailing each other links to exciting and interesting things they have found. They aren’t clicking the ‘donate’ button on my or anyone else’s website. In short, they aren’t consuming media any more.

      • Bernie Corbett’s Response to WMUIW

      • Shame Peter Mandelson didn't download some common sense
        What happens when an inadequate legislative process meets networking technology? Answer: the Digital Economy Bill (aka Mandy's dangerous downloaders act), which finally staggered, slightly frayed, on to the statute book on Wednesday night.

        For those who haven't been following the story, here's the gist. Many moons ago, Stephen (now Lord) Carter, the former Ofcom boss, was commissioned to produce a report on the communications and networking strategy Britain should follow in order to drag itself into the 21st century. He duly produced the Digital Britain report which, although remarkably unambitious on some issues, such as aspirations for nationwide broadband speeds, was also judicious and sensible on hot topics like file-sharing and "piracy". The stage was set for a deliberative path to legislation, probably timed for the next parliament.

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Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer