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Links 17/9/2010: Fedora Moves to Upstart, Hybrid Tablets Running Linux Introduced

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • AWS Adds New Linux Amazon Machine Image

    • That Other OS Goes to the Back of the Bus
      Not one of the top-ten most reliable server-hosting outfits is running that other OS in this month’s Netcraft survey. 8 of the top ten run GNU/Linux and two run FreeBSD. The top site running that other OS is 15th. Only 4 in the top 42 use that other OS and 3 2003 sites are ahead of one 2008 site. Come on, M$, can’t you do any better than that?

  • Kernel Space

    • Plugable Open Source Hardware Samples Program
      If you’re a developer with a history submitting patches for Linux or other platforms, please submit your request for Plugable sample hardware here. Because we’ll have only a trickle of each type over device over time, an important part of this is having some idea of what prior driver development contributions you’ve made. We’ll try to focus on matching hardware to the developers most likely to be able to contribute improvements in that area.

    • Nexenta 3.0 Benchmarked Against PC-BSD, OpenSolaris, Ubuntu
      With the release of Nexenta Core Platform 3.0 a few weeks back we decided to run some benchmarks of this operating system against PC-BSD 8.1, OpenSolaris b134, and Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS. For those unfamiliar with Nexenta Core Platform, it is an operating system that combines the OpenSolaris kernel with a GNU user-land provided by the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS "Hardy Heron" package repository, complete with apt-get support for easy package installation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600 Gallium3D Driver Continues Advancing
        While most of the open-source Linux graphics drivers are currently in Toulouse for the 2010 X.Org Developers' Summit, David Airlie of Red Hat Australia is not among those in attendance. He, however, is continuing to work on one of his latest efforts in conjunction with AMD: R600g, or the ATI R600/700/Evergreen Gallium3D driver. In the latest batch of Git commits to Mesa there is now a number of new features implemented.

      • The RadeonHD Driver Would Be Three Today
        Three years ago from today marked the introduction of the RadeonHD driver, the first open-source X.Org driver for the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) and Radeon HD 2000 (R600) series graphics cards. This driver came as part of AMD's open-source strategy (the strategy's third birthday was celebrated earlier this month) and with loads of public documentation for their ATI graphics processors. The RadeonHD driver was developed by Novell's X team from Nürnberg with support from AMD, but sadly it will not be celebrating its third birthday today since the RadeonHD driver was killed off.

      • Mesa 7.4 Through Mesa 7.9 Benchmarks With Intel Graphics
        Over the next few weeks there are a number of new Phoronix benchmarks to be published concerning the performance of Mesa 7.9 for both the Mesa classic and Gallium3D drivers from the different GPU vendors. Included in those tests will be new Intel Mesa benchmarks of their only officially supported 3D driver using one of the Arrandale processors, but for those currently missing out on the X Developers' Summit in Toulouse or PhoronixFest at Oktoberfest, here's a bonus article. For this extra round of benchmarking, we took one of the original Intel Atom benchmarks with i945 graphics and ran it with every major Mesa release since Mesa 7.4.

      • What Parts Of X.Org Should Be Killed With Fire?
        Originally at the X.Org Developers' Summit here in Toulouse this week there was going to be a talk entitled "Kill It With Fire" where Corbin Simpson (mostly known for his work on the ATI R300 Gallium3D driver) was going to be speaking about what drivers or parts of X.Org should be eliminated from the stack. This talk though is no longer occurring, in part as Corbin is no longer in attendance; he washed his US passport in the laundry.

      • AMD Catalyst 10.9 For Linux Released
        AMD has just released their monthly proprietary Linux driver update, which this month puts it at Catalyst 10.9. The only new "feature" of AMD Catalyst 10.9 for Linux is early support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 (RHEL6), but there are some bug-fixes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Video editor Kdenlive 0.7.8 offers improved colour correction
        The new version of the KDE video editing application, Kdenlive 0.7.8, is now available to download. The developers have added twenty eight new features and corrected over a ninety seven bugs and errors from the previous version. Among the new features of the release are improved tools for colour correction and a better UI for effects, which allows users to adjust some transitions and effects directly. Users can now easily apply effects to a whole track and more reverse transitions are available.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Still a commander: Red Hat's new chairman
        Since leaving the military eight years ago, retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton has taught, led seminars and served on corporate boards.

        Recently named chairman of Raleigh-based software developer Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Shelton says moving from the military to the business world involves a different uniform but not a change in strategy.

      • Seven Bear Stocks In Technology, Media And Telecommunications
        RHT's current stock price is in the band of $38.01 and $38.79, compared to 52 week band of $24.73 and $39.08. However, I calculate its intrinsic stock value to be less than $25. Moreover, in terms of ROE, it is among the worst performers among its peers.

      • KVM supports live migration without shared storage
        Red Hat will soon offer a new utility for live migration of virtual machines that doesn't require shared storage. The protocol could drive virtualization into new environments such as public cloud computing, where shared storage is not always available, observers said.

      • Fedora

        • Back to the open ati driver and kernel 2.6.33 in Fedora 13
          Out of the three kernels present in my Fedora 13 installation (one 2.6.33, two 2.6.34), my quest to gain a usable display (i.e. not blurry/out of sync) had me replacing the stock, open-source ati driver with ATI's own proprietary Catalyst fglrx driver.

          With the ati driver I could get perfect video in 2.6.33 but only the aforementioned blurriness in both 2.6.34 kernels (and I do have a bug open on the matter). Plopping radeon.modeset=0 into the Grub2-generated boot line had no effect.

        • Fedora 14 to use Upstart not systemd
          The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) has decided to use Upstart instead of systemd as the standard init system for the Fedora 14 Linux distribution, which is expected to be released in November. Systemd, an alternative to SysV Init and Upstart, released in late April and used in the alpha of Fedora 14, is now scheduled to become part of the standard system in Fedora 15. Among the reasons for this decision are some problems testers recently found during the systemd test day.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Community-related services downtime

        • Archive frozen for preparation of Ubuntu 10.10

        • Ubuntu One Evolves for Maverick

          Ubuntu One, Canonical’s file-sharing service that has until now been little more than a Dropbox copycat, has evolved for Maverick Meerkat in ways that finally help set it apart from its competitors. Here’s a look at some of the updates to the service, and what they infer about Canonical’s longterm plans.

          Traditionally, Ubuntu One has done little more than allow users to store data in the cloud and automatically sync it between different computers. Ubuntu 10.04 added a few new features to the service, like syncing Firefox bookmarks, but in general there’s been little to distinguish Ubuntu One from competitors like Dropbox–other than the latter’s cross-platform support, which Ubuntu One lacked until now.

        • Opsera teams up with Canonical for Opsview on Ubuntu
          Opsera, vendor of the open source network and application monitoring platform Opsview, have announced that they are partnering with Canonical to provide Opsview through Canonical's partner repositories. Opsera say that Ubuntu Server Edition is now its Linux platform of choice for running Opsview Enterprise Edition, the commercially supported version of Opsview Community.

        • Canonical Announces Provisional Ubuntu Developer Summit Tracks
          To be confirmed, along with more announced, in coming weeks, the tracks were made available today on the newly-launched UDS site, The site is a destination for information about the event for the key participants in Ubuntu's development, from Canonical engineers and community members to ISVs and partners.

        • Ubuntu: It Just Works
          It seems just like yesterday, the launch of Lucid Lynx, the latest Ubuntu 6-monthly offering. In fact, it was at the end of April. I know this from the name 10.04.

          At first, I wasn’t convinced. The window control buttons moving to the left, to make way for the windicators, the new dark theme, new logo.

          But it worked, better than ever before. It took me an hour to install everything from scratch, including all the software I use.

        • Gmail Notification For Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu May 'See' and React to the Physical World

          Rather, with the aid of hardware sensors such as cameras, Ubuntu could "see" and respond to users' whole-body movements, recognizing when they are and aren't there and reacting accordingly.

          "We thought about how Ubuntu could behave if it was more aware of its physical context," wrote developer Christian Giordano on Tuesday in a company blog. "Not only detecting the tilt of the device (like iPhone apps) but also analyzing the user's presence."

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ubuntu-10.04-Saner-Defaults-Remix
            I am proud to announce the Beta release of the Ubuntu-Saner-Defaults-Remix! This is Ubuntu 10.04.1 with a some default applications replaced with saner choices and some other saner default settings and theme changes were also made. This is all being done to maximize usability and user friendliness in regard to the average user (new or potential linux user.) Further, all updates through September 3, 2010 have been applied.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Always Innovating Smart Book includes more modular gear
        The Smart Book is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU though clock speeds aren't revealed. A custom user interface comes standard, though it can run on Ubuntu Linux or else Google's Chromium or Android. An 8GB microSDHC memory card is bundled for storage, as is a 2GB USB flash drive. Otherwise present is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and the capability to output 720p videos onto external displays. Four USB ports exist on the main body, and the tablet portion has an integrated accelerometer.

      • Always Innovating's Smart Book the "Swiss Army Knife" of netbooks
        Always Innovating’s Smart Book may just be the most flexible mobile device yet. It takes the current netbook you know and love and breaks it down into pieces, allowing you to take what you need or use as few or as many pieces as you need.

    • Tablets

      • Hack Turns $170 Media Viewer Into Tablet
        The Infocast has enough hardware chops and a Linux-based operating system to transform it into a kind of a tablet. Some electronics hackers have tweaked it to run a Webkit-based browser and use the device’s native capability to run apps. It’s no iPad, but the hack is intriguing.

      • It's a MID, a tablet, a netbook, even an external display!
        Always Innovating says its new "Mini Book" mobile internet device rides piggyback on a "Smart Book" tablet, which in turn can be plugged into a keyboard to become a netbook. Built using the 1GHz Texas Instruments DaVinci DM3730 processor, the modular, hackable devices are further claimed to switch between Android, Ubuntu, Chrome OS, and AIOS Linux distros at the touch of a button.

      • Doctors Will Use Dell Streak Tablets When Treating Patients
        At 5-inches, the Streak is a lot more portable than the iPad—but still not quite as pocket-friendly (lab coat-friendly?) as the iPhone. Nonetheless, that's where Dell wants to place its tablets, ramming it with a healthcare software app.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Russian Soda Commercial by ARt DDs [with Blender]

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 updates now available for download
        Thunderbird 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 are now available as free downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux from As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Thunderbird, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version.

  • CMS

    • Open source Facebook replacement Diaspora drops first alpha
      The Diaspora project—an attempt to make an open source, peer-to-peer replacement for Facebook with a focus on privacy—has reached its first major milestone. The first developer alpha is now available for download and review, and the group is now accepting code contributions from the open source community at large.

      Diaspora was born of the frustration with Facebook's central control over user-supplied data and an increasing propensity to play loose with users' privacy. "Diaspora aims to be a distributed network, where totally separate computers connect to each other directly, and will let us connect without surrendering our privacy," project co-founder Maxwell Salzberg wrote in April.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Mule software connects with the cloud

      As a lightweight Java-based ESB, Mule allows an organization to create and connect a set of services across a network. MuleSoft, which offers a commercially supported version of the software, claims that Mule is the most widely used open-source ESB, with more than 2,500 enterprise users, including DHL and Honeywell.


  • Openness/Sharing

    • First rice, then wheat – now cocoa genome unravelled
      Instead of patenting the genome, they have placed it online for anyone to use for free. They say that its discovery will allow breeders who use traditional methods to grow hardier, more productive and disease-resistant trees.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 10 HTML5 Video Players
      Yes, we couldn’t resist the HTML5 temptation and decided to highlight this trending topic on our blog too. Tremendous media buzz that was caused by the latest version of hyper text markup language is really unique even for modern informational society. Anyways we think that mostly you know the core of this issue with not-supporting Flash video on some popular devices and sudden success of HTML5 video players.


  • How Thoughtful Of The BBC
    The BBC are due to renegotiate the TV licence fee in a couple of years. I'd expect this "generous" offer to freeze the fee for a year to be a cynical attempt to earn Brownie points for those negotiations. They will spin this for all it's worth in attempt to squeeze more out of already hard up viewers. All of this while playing the victim on cutbacks. As usual the BBC play the "unbiased, trusted and independent" card while lobbying to maintain their own gravy train.

  • Software RAID Comes Out of the Closet
    For a decade software RAID has been downplayed as a poor substitute for the “real thing” and was only for fools and cheapskates like me. Software RAID with GNU/Linux has been one of the chief differentiators between the typical PC with that other OS and GNU/Linux terminal servers I have been using for 7 years now to increase performance for very little cost. The idea is that one uses “normal” storage-device interfaces and stitches data together in RAM to do RAID. I normally use RAID 1 so the CPU overhead is minimal. DMA on the interface chips does the transferring and the data is instantly ready for use. For RAID 5 and 6 there is some parity checking that consumes CPU cycles.

  • Nearly 139 million digital cameras to be shipped globally in 2010, says Digitimes Research

  • Science

    • China creates first directly solar powered air conditioner
      In Dezhou, China, Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd unveiled the worlds first directly solar powered air conditioner. The unit was revealed at the World Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Development Forum which was hosted in Dezhou.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Peru's wells are being sucked dry by British love of asparagus
      Asparagus grown in Peru and sold in the UK is commonly held up as a symbol of unacceptable food miles, but a report has raised an even more urgent problem: its water footprint.

      The study, by the development charity Progressio, has found that industrial production of asparagus in Peru's Ica valley is depleting the area's water resources so fast that smaller farmers and local families are finding wells running dry. Water to the main city in the valley is also under threat, it says. It warns that the export of the luxury vegetable, much of it to British supermarkets, is unsustainable in its current form.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Bank invests record sums in coal

      Record sums were invested last year in coal power - the most carbon intensive form of energy on the planet - by the World Bank, despite international commitments to slash the carbon emissions blamed for climate change.

      The World Bank said this week that a total of US$3.4bn (€£2.2bn) - or a quarter of all funding for energy projects - was spent in the year to June 2010 helping to build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi plant in South Africa. Over the same period the bank also spent $1bn (€£640m) on looking and drilling for oil and gas.

    • Republican hopefuls deny global warming

      All but one of the 48 Republican hopefuls for the Senate mid-term elections in November deny the existence of climate change or oppose action on global warming, according to a report released today.

      The strong Republican front against established science includes entrenched Senate leaders as well as the new wave of radical conservatives endorsed by the Tea Party activists, says a report by the Centre for American Progress.

      As election season gets under way, Tea Party favourites such as Joe Miller, who caused the biggest upset of the primaries when he defeated the Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska last month, have been upfront about their doubts on climate science. "We haven't heard there's manmade global warming," Miller told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

  • Finance

    • The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond
      Writing in these pages in early 2008, we put the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion. This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration's 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.

      But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war's broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

    • Source: Obama to announce Warren Friday
      President Barack Obama will use a midday appearance Friday to announce Elizabeth Warren’s new role with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — giving her the title assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury Secretary, an administration official tells POLITICO.

    • China's holdings of Treasury debt post slight gain

      The debt figures are being closely watched at a time when the U.S. government is running record annual deficits. A drop in foreign demand could lead to higher interest rates in the United States.

      Japan, the second largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds and notes, increased its holdings 2.2 percent to $821 billion. Britain, which holds the No. 3 spot, saw a 3.3 percent increase in holdings to $374.3 billion.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ACLU Settles Student-Cell-Phone-Search Lawsuit With Northeast Pennsylvania School District
      The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced today that it has settled a lawsuit filed in May alleging that the Tunkhannock Area School District (Wyoming County) illegally searched a student's cell phone, punished her for storing semi-nude pictures of herself on the device, and then referred her case for criminal prosecution to the district attorney's office. Under the settlement, the school district denied any liability or wrongdoing but agreed to pay the student and her lawyers $33,000 to resolve the dispute. The student's claims against the District Attorney's Office were not settled and will proceed through litigation.

    • Sarah Palin Revisited: Why Terms of Use Shouldn't Be Enforced Through Computer Crime Law
      Last week, we questioned whether Sarah Palin may have violated Facebook's terms of use by using a ghostwriter to update her profile. We also criticized Facebook's attempts to enforce those terms with state and federal computer crime laws — which carry both civil and criminal penalties — in Facebook v. Power Ventures.

      As we explained, it's dangerous for a website to claim that users who breach its terms of use also violate computer crime law. Facebook users can easily make uncontroversial choices that nevertheless violate the plain meaning of Facebook's terms. Furthermore, Facebook shouldn't have the discretion to criminalize certain behavior just by forbidding it in terms of use.

    • Lawsuit targets advertiser over sneaky HTML5 pseudo-cookies
      A New York-based mobile-web advertising company was hit Wednesday with a proposed class action lawsuit over its use of an HTML5 trick to track iPhone and iPad users across a number of websites, in what is believed to be the first privacy lawsuit of its kind in the mobile space.

    • How US sanctions made Haystack
      There seems to be no end to the Haystack Affair. Who knew that this whole "Internet freedom" business was so ugly? Perhaps, it comes with the location: there must be a reason why Washington beats any other city in the world in terms of how many/how often its residents search for that very term on Google.

      I'm glad that The Economist picked it up, along with many others. I'm still waiting for The Guardian to do something about their akward award to Austin Heap. (That award is deeply symbolic of what happens to good editorial judgement when newspapers are forced to run conferences and make money on things that their marketing departments don't know how to vet.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Intel: Leaked HDCP copy protection code is legit
      Intel has confirmed that code posted to the Internet earlier this week is the master key that is part of an Intel-created standard used to make sure only authorized devices are playing copyright-protected movies.

      "We can use it to generate valid device keys that do interoperate with the (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protocol," Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop told CNET today.

    • HDTV Code Crack Is Real, Intel Confirms

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • John Doe Strikes Back: New Developments in the US Copyright Group ("Hurt Locker") Cases
        After months of dragnet litigation and intimidation, some of the thousands of “John Doe” Defendants targeted in mass copyright lawsuits filed in the District of Columbia are fighting back in earnest.

        The lawsuits are the brainchild of a Washington, D.C., law firm calling itself the "U.S. Copyright Group" (USCG). USCG investigators have identified IP addresses they allege are associated with the unauthorized uploading and downloading of independent films, including "Far Cry" and "The Hurt Locker." Using those addresses, USCG has filed several "John Doe" lawsuits in D.C., implicating well over 14,000 individuals, and has issued subpoenas to ISPs seeking the identities of the subscribers associated with those IP addresses.

      • ACTA

        • When the Camembert tops democratic governance
          A European Parliament majority accepted a written declaration on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which iterates the calls to European Commissioner Karel de Gucht for more legislative transparency.

          In a speech before the European Parliament Commissioner Karel De Gucht threatened the United States to leave negotiations when geographical indications would be "discriminated", that is excluded from the scope of the negotiations on ACTA. Geographical indications cover, for instance, camembert de Normandie, parmesan cheese or champagne, and other marks of origin. The United States oppose their inclusion in ACTA. The United States also aim to keep the negotiated ACTA draft text confidential.

Clip of the Day

Richard stallman San iGNUcio

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Credit: TinyOgg

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