Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 26/9/2010: Many New GNU/Linux Releases, Free Software in British Government



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Proof of Concept PSGroove ported to PlayStation 3 Sixaxis/DualShock 3
    There were reports of people trying to use the SixAxis controller to Jailbreak the PS3. However, we stopped hearing about any progress on it and heard more about clones such as the PS3Key and P3Free and many others. Now, there seems to be proof of a PSGroove port on a PlayStation 3 SixAxis/DualShock 3 controller! Forum user hasuky from http://www.elotrolado.net/ stated that he'll be putting more info online tomorrow.


  • Are Platform Vendors Stealing Linux?
    Of course, such advantages are good for the companies, but not so much the end user. As I already pointed out, trying to un-do the commoditization of Linux does the customer a huge disservice, because you're essentially introducing vendor lock in again. Ultimately, I think the customers should get wise to this and resist such "tuned" versions of Linux.

    But what if they don't? If a vendor can tune a Linux enough, customers might want to stick with the vendor's brand. Make the pricing and implementation simple--as Sprint did with its cellular pricing plans a couple of years ago--and customers may even pay an extra premium for the platform vendor's Linux.

    The success of just such a plan hinges on just how much "better" a platform vendor's Linux is and how compatible its application space is with other Linux distros. Not to mention what the response of Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical will be for their respective RHEL, SUSE Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu Server offerings.

    It will need to be an interesting response, because right now Oracle and Amazon have something these other three companies don't: a platform (be it physical or virtual). That will be a tricky thing to negate.




  • Kernel Space

    • The People Who Support Linux: “My Heart for Open Source Began with Linux”
      Linux has a way of inspiring all of us. Joshua Drake is a major contributor to the PostgreSQL.org community, lead consultant at Command Prompt, Inc., and is president of United States PosgreSQL, but he says his love for open source began with Linux.

      “I honestly don't know exactly how long {I’ve been using Linux} but my first distribution was SLS and then Yggdrasil. It was pre-Linux 1.0 IIRC.”

      Five points to each of our readers who can say the same.


    • Graphics Stack

      • For Those Interested In Direct3D Over Gallium3D
        There still is great interest and discussion among many users interested in Direct3D 10 and 11 being natively implemented on Linux using a new state tracker that was published this week for the Gallium3D driver architecture. It seems some Wine developers are still in opposition to this effort even though their Direct3D 10 implementation within Wine is still very limited in terms of translating the calls to OpenGL and their Direct3D 11 support really hasn't taken off.

        Besides our links to the original Git commits and mailing list posts, for those wishing to follow the development of this "D3D1X" state tracker and Wine, there's a few more links to pass along.


      • Keith & Peter Talking About X.Org Development
        The 2010 X.Org Developers' Summit in Toulouse has been over for a week, but the disappointing weather in Munich today Oktoberfest finally made it sound more enticing to take care of the remaining XDS 2010 coverage rather than drinking Augustiner in a wet pair of lederhosens. With that said, below are the video recordings of when Keith Packard and Peter Hutterer were talking about the X.Org Server development process changes that have resulted in surprisingly on-time releases.






  • Applications

    • Lightspark's Advanced Graphics Engine Progresses
      For those interested in the state of the "advanced graphics engine" for Lightspark, the newest and promising open-source project to implement support for Adobe's Flash/SWF specification, there's an update. This graphics engine is progressing, according to Alessandro Pignotti, the lead developer of Lightspark.


    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Organizing photos with jBrout


      • User Riots: What Does Not Work with Launcher Menus (Part 2)


      • UNetbootin - Bootable USB Media Made Easy
        I think that one of the most useful developments of the past couple of years has been bootable USB sticks. Not just "LiveUSB" sticks, from which you can actually run Linux, although those are wonderful too, but just plain old bootable distribution installers. They keep me from having piles of used CD/DVD discs around my desk, save me time in creating and booting the installation media, and even give me a bit better conscience about not continuously using discs for Alpha/Beta/RC/whatever releases one or two times and then tossing them on the pile.




    • Games

      • Lost Luggage Studios "Anirah" Mac and Linux Versions Released
        Lost Luggage Studios releases v1.2 of "Anirah: Riddle of the Pharaohs," an ancient Egyptian-themed puzzle game best described as, "Similar to MahJongg, but with math."

        Not the typical Match-3 type of game, in Anirah you are given a target number and can select as many tiles as it takes to total that number. Tiles can be selected if they can freely slide off the board - straight up, down, left, or right. You can make a match with three tiles, ten tiles, or even just one tile. The goal is to clear the board and proceed to the next round.






  • Desktop Environments



    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.3.2 Raises The Bar On Linux Media Players Another Notch
        A heads up, for those who haven't heard: the venerable flagship media player Amarok has released a new version upon the masses. 2.3.2, Codenamed "Moonshine", includes a series of bug fixes along with some cool new features as well.


      • be vewwwwy quiet .. i'm hunting pixmaps.
        The impact on Plasma mobile should be even larger, as "bunches of things of the same size" is a very common occurrence (e.g.a phone dialer, a grid of app icons, ..) and graphics performance is a rare commodity. Keeping the animations tamed through fewer generated pixmaps, only generating pixmaps actually pushed to screen, etc. helps out as well. I don't yet have numbers of the impact on the N900, but it can only be good news there if it's noticeable on a desktop system.






  • Distributions



    • Reviews

      • 200th Post: Preview: ArchBang 2010.09 "apeiro"
        I think ArchBang has a lot of potential as a usable, modern desktop for old computers. I'm a little confused about the whole "stable release" thing, given that Arch Linux is a rolling-release distribution. More importantly, however, ArchBang is another example of the identity issues LXDE has, in that it uses some LX-tools like LXAppearance and LXTerminal, but it advertises its DE as Openbox (not LXDE) and uses tint2 instead of the LXPanel. That's not meant as a ding on ArchBang at all. If you're even remotely interested, please do go try it out!




    • New Releases



    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Texas Mint Tea, anyone?
        PCLinuxOS, originally based upon Mandrake/Mandriva and its RPM Package Manager, PC championed the notion of "use the best of the best" in its rolling release distro. PC has been active since late 2003.

        LinuxMint championed "take the best and make it better." Starting with Ubuntu and tweaking it with their own additions and new tools. Mint uses the .deb package system, offering package management with its own Software Manager or Synaptic. Mint has been around since mid-2006.


      • PCLinuxOS Progresses Undeterred
        #2 PCLinuxOS magazine: These days PCLinuxOS has bringing out its monthly magazine regularly religiously. I am sure it won't win a FOSS award for the literature. But it has a lot to make us mortals happy and engaged in Linux. The mag has a system approach to teach newbies essential commandline magic, use/management of popular desktop environments and developments specific to PCLinuxOS. It has those fun stuff elements also that you expect from a community or school magazine.


      • Developers fork Mandriva Linux - Welcome Mageia






  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based signal processing system from Spectrum Signal Processing uses PCI Express form factor for embedded systems
      Engineers at Spectrum Signal Processing by Vecima (TSX:VCM) in Burnaby, British Columbia showcased their Linux-based signal processing platform -- the SDR-2010 at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. The SDR-2010 targets electronic warfare, signals intelligence including wideband spectral analysis and multi-channel direction finding, and military satellite communications applications.


    • Phones



      • Android



        • I Don’t Want a Tablet, So When Can I Get One?
          What about the software, you ask? Funny thing: it’s juts not the priority for me – I’m far more concerned with the hardware. Any of Android, Chrome OS or webOS would probably be acceptable as a tablet operating system. For me, anyway. Google’s Director of Mobile Products, Hugo Barra, was unequivocal in his belief that Android isn’t ready for that device type, which while technically true probably isn’t going to help Samsung’s marketing efforts.


        • Should Android be Startups’ First Choice?
          Yes, Android has been slower to pay dividends to its third-party developer community than Apple’s iOS, in part because of its platform fragmentation problems. However, this strikes me as a transitory problem: one that is being resolved by Google, and that entrepreneurial developers are likely to help fix. There’s simply too much money at stake for the problem not to be solved.










Free Software/Open Source



  • Students to Take Computers and Wikipedia to Africa
    The students were also trained to use Ubuntu, the free operating system based on Linux on which the software was installed, in order to be able to teach the locals how to use it.


  • Events

    • OWF Open Source Barometer 2010 is coming…
      Next week at the Open World Forum on the 30 September will take place the “Open Analysts summit: The 2010 barometer of Open Source“, a session bringing together leading open source analysts Matthew Aslett, Jeffrey Hammond and Mathieu Poujol.




  • SaaS

    • Hiding in Plain Sight: The Rise of Amazon Web Services
      Initially believed to be an Ubuntu derivative, which would have been an even more interesting choice, Amazon’s new custom Linux distribution is actually binary compatible with CentOS, which is itself a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. All of which means, effectively, that Amazon is following in the footsteps of Oracle [coverage] and getting into the Linux distribution game via Red Hat. By leveraging the availability of open source assets, they are systematically bootstrapping themselves into markets that have, historically, been vigorously defended by their respective dominant players.


    • Scality Launches Open Source Cloud Program with $100,000 Incentive Fund for Software Developers
      SNIA Software Developers Conference, Santa Clara, California, 21st September 2010 – Scality, the pioneer of object-based cloud storage, today announced plans to open-source the Software Development Kit (SDK) of its patented RING technology. As a kickoff incentive, Scality is offering contributing developers bounties from a $100,000 USD fund.


    • EMC Greenplum and Cloudera Form Alliance to Tackle Big Data Challenge
      EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced a new alliance to enable integration of technology from Cloudera, a leading provider of Hadoop-based data management software and services, with the EMC€® Data Computing Products division's Greenplum technology to help businesses better manage and analyze large and continuously growing amounts of structured and unstructured information such as log files, sensor data, streaming data, sales receipts, e-mails, research data and images collectively known as "big data."


    • Twitter Analytics Lead, Kevin Weil, and a Presenter at Hadoop World Interviewed
      Prior to Hadoop, we had a MySQL-based data warehouse and ETL system, like many companies start with. It worked for a while, but over time the daily job began taking 16, 18, 20 hours. That’s never been an issue since we switched to Hadoop because it allows us to scale our cluster horizontally as Twitter usage grows. It would probably take 2 weeks to run a day’s worth of numbers today if we had to go back to our old system.




  • Databases

    • Guest Post: Do we need a new programming language for Big Data?
      Could the Big Data complexity be factored out somehow with a new general purpose programming language? No doubt. Having worked with Anders on the creation of Delphi many years back, this is right up his alley. Or maybe we already have a good starting point with Erlang, Scala, and Google’s Go. Go is particularly interesting having been designed by Rob Pike and Ken Thompson of Bell Labs / Unix fame.




  • CMS

    • VideoEgg to Acquire Six Apart and Create SAY Media
      Mena Trott, Six Apart co-founder: “SAY Media continues Six Apart’s mission to make passionate creators successful. Whether on TypePad or another platform, developing a game or an application, the company will empower people to create great content and make money doing it. This acquisition marks a new beginning as we launch a modern media company centered on the creators, the content, and the audiences that are redefining media.”






  • Semi-Open Source



  • MySQL

    • Oracle Announces MySQL 5.5 Release Candidate


    • Founding SkySQL
      Another question presented to us by many is what our relationship is to Michael "Monty" Widenius and his company Monty Program. To ease some curiosity, let me explain the situation.

      * Monty Program will be a close business partner with SkySQL, and provide deepest-level engineering backing to the MySQL part of SkySQL's product offering, and provide SkySQL with access to top development talent on the product. * However, both companies are completely separate and have different owners and goals. o a) Monty and his company are focusing on future community development of MariaDB. The company is practically owned by the personnel, and has the goal of i) being a great place for engineers to work, ii) ensuring long term survival of the MySQL technology in the world, and iii) not be driven by outside investors, but share profits to personnel and not to owners. (BTW: number iii is the main reason why Open Ocean is not an investor in MP). o b) SkySQL Corporation Ab is a commercial, for-profit company. It focuses on serving customers with MySQL and MySQL-related products and services, to enable the customers to be successful in using the products in all their needs, at affordable cost, long term. As indicated by "MySQL-related" we plan to expand both the technology (through own development and through partners) and the service offering beyond what MySQL AB did, in line with how the industry and customer needs have developed and are expected to develop. * Monty himself has no active role in SkySQL. Yet, as a close partner through Monty Program, he is logically very supportive of our operation.

      Now, the work begins.




  • Government

    • Bristol councillor makes stand for open source
      The political head of ICT at a city struggling to wrestle free of Microsoft has declared it will give up its open source ambitions “over my dead body”.

      Mark Wright, the Bristol City councillor who handles the cabinet portfolio for ICT, made the stand at a political meeting in London yesterday.

      Bristol's attempts to use open source software instead of Microsoft on its desktop computers have been hampered by the widespread use of proprietary Microsoft standards in Britain's public sector. But Wright said the council would not give up the fight.

      “I was put in charge of IT in Bristol. I made it very clear to the department that we would retreat from open source over my dead body,” Wright told the Westminster eForum in London yesterday.

      Bristol spent five years trying to use open source software on 5,500 desktop computers, but its staff became isolated and unproductive, as they were unable to use the Microsoft file formats used almost everywhere else in the UK.


    • Open Source Community Welcomes Government Support
      “Free software is an idea whose time has come,” said Taylor, at the Westminster eForum today, predicting that it would finally break through in the public sector because of the coalition’s twin ideas - cuts to deal with the deficit and the “big society”, in which the government will cease to do things that people can do for themselves.




  • Programming



  • Standards/Consortia

    • Save only in ODF


    • European Parliament takes clear stance on openness in the context of completing the internal market
      Earlier this week the European Parliament finished its “Report on completing the internal market for e-commerce” (2010/2012(INI)). It is a very interesting document, very comprehensively addressing the full spectrum of electronic commerce in relation to the internal marekt – and definitely worth reading.

      In this report, once again, the Parliament takes a very clear stance on openness as critical for the internal market in many ways. It acknowledges the "importance of open and neutral access to a high-speed internet connection, without which e-commerce would be impossible" (clause 43). And it asks the Commission "to work towards creating rules and standards" to overcome the "non-interoperability of software on commercial and social networking websites" (clause 47).

      [...]

      More specifically, the parliament clearly requires the use of an open standard in the area of document formats. As stated in clause 41 the parliament “Highlights the importance of an open document exchange format for electronic business interoperation and calls on the Commission to take concrete steps to support its emergence and spread”. For sure, the Open Document Format (ODF) standard which was developed by OASIS and approved by ISO (ISO/IEC 26300) is the standard available for use today. It has been implemented in multiple competing products and is demonstrating interoperability in real life on a daily basis.



    • Large-scale migration to an open source office suite: An innovation adoption study in Finland [PDF]






Leftovers

  • Intel unveils controversial PC upgrade scheme


    Critics have derided the idea as a way for Intel to charge customers for something the chip can already do.

    Intel said the scheme was about offering "choice and flexibility".

    "The pilot in a limited number of retail stores will centre on one Pentium processor, one of our value brands, and will enable a consumer to upgrade the performance of their PC online," Intel spokesman George Alfs told BBC News.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Health Care Provisions Begin to Pay Off for All Ages
      For those who think the law should be repealed, I ask them to just stop and think how their loved ones might already be bet€­ter off than they were six months ago -- and how much bet€­ter off we all will be when the law has been fully imple€­mented in 2014.




  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bountiful crop lands farmer in legal trouble
      A Georgia man is headed to court over how many vegetables he can grow on his land. Code enforcement says until recently, the farmer had too many vegetable plants for his property in Clarkston, just outside Atlanta.

      Steve Miller's profession is landscaping, but his passion is growing organic vegetables. That passion landed the Clarkston man in court. Before he rezoned the land two months ago, DeKalb County Code Enforcement cited him for illegal growing crops and using unpermitted workers.


    • CIA used 'illegal, inaccurate code to target kill drones'
      The CIA is implicated in a court case in which it's claimed it used an illegal, inaccurate software "hack" to direct secret assassination drones in central Asia.

      The target of the court action is Netezza, the data warehousing firm that IBM bid $1.7bn for on Monday. The case raises serious questions about the conduct of Netezza executives, and the conduct of CIA's clandestine war against senior jihadis in Afganistan and Pakistan.


    • THE IRAQ WAR -- PART I: The U.S. Prepares for Conflict, 2001
      Following instructions from President George W. Bush to develop an updated war plan for Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered CENTCOM Commander Gen. Tommy Franks in November 2001 to initiate planning for the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government and the empowerment of a “Provisional Government” to take its place.


    • Six held after allegedly burning Qur'ans
      A security expert warned yesterday that the alleged burning of two Qur'ans in northern England risked making Britain more of a terrorist target and endangering British troops.

      Police have arrested six men over the apparent burning of the Muslim holy book behind a pub in Gateshead on the anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the US. Police refused to say whether those arrested were connected to the far right English Defence League (EDL). A witness said the pub had been the subject of police attention because some customers were alleged to have links to the EDL.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife





  • Finance

    • Volcker Fails to Sell a Bank Strategy
      Listen to a top economist in the Obama administration describe Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who endorsed Mr. Obama early in his election campaign and who stood by his side during the financial crisis.




  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The risks of Facebook's Instant Personalization program
      In April, Facebook unveiled a new technology called Instant Personalization. Initially released to just Yelp, Pandora, and Docs.com, Instant Personalization has been widely misunderstood by the media and Facebook users alike.

      Instant personalization allows any site that Facebook chooses to partner with to use your current Facebook session as its own authentication system. In other words, if you are logged into Facebook when you visit Yelp.com, Yelp will immediately know who you are and some basic information about you (such as your profile photo and friends list) without any further action on your part.


    • Google releases censorship tools




  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • US communities pin hopes on 'super wi-fi'
      Wi-fi as most people know it is about to get a major shot in the arm in the US. After two years of talks, officials have approved the use of "white spaces" that will enable wireless broadband to reach greater distances than ever before, as the BBC's Marc Adams reports.




  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Benjamin Franklin, the first IP pirate?


      In his essays, letters, and actions, Franklin was a "commonwealth man in the style of Jefferson," Hyde writes. He understood the United States Constitution's copyright language "as a balance between a short-term monopoly and a long-term grant to the public. That the clause might become the ground for creating a perpetual property right for individuals and private corporations would have astounded him."

      Benjamin Franklin rebelled against knowledge as eternal property through his whole life. Hyde gives us a portrait of him that reveals this in his writings and works.


    • Copyrights

      • An Explanation Of My Views On Copyright Part Four The Sky Is Falling


      • Copyright enforcement firm ACS:Law hit by embarrassing email leak
        More seriously there is discussion about how they could "scare" people into paying by pursuing them directly, and allegedly an email with attached file containing the names and addresses of thousands of Sky broadband users (plus the names of pornographic movies they're supposed to have downloaded) which if true constitutes a serious breach of the data protection act.

        File sharing news site Torrent Freak is busy sifting through the messages and has uncovered all kinds of worrying information, including emails from couples complaining that accusations of gay porn downloads have caused trouble with their marriage and desperate letters from people who can't afford the fines.

        The leak further confirms the suspicion that ACS:Law seems more concerned about how much money it can get than protecting intellectual property. One email found by TF shows the company accepting a settlement figure despite having acknowledged the accused wasn't responsible for any infringment, and giving up on chasing someone else because they're bankrupt and won't be able to pay. It also reveals that in some cases Crossley's firm is netting over 50% of the cash received, the rest being split between the copyright owner and other third parties

        At a time when the company is under investigation from the SRA for its questionable tactics this has to come as a major embarrassment, and should there be anything in there which breaks the law or breaches ethical guidelines it could lead to serious repercussions for Crossley and his company.


      • Citigroup uses copyright to censor a critic
        Brad DeLong reports that Citigroup published an appraisal of the Obama administration's bank reform policy in 2009 link here. It was mild and viewed the changes favorably, so the report conveyed a sense of relief at the bank. Come 2010, the bank has now sent a blog which posted the report, a take-down notice for violating its DCMA link here.










Clip of the Day



Martin Pool - "Bazaar - a distributed version control system for free software communities"



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Credit: TinyOgg

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