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Links 02/11/2010: GNOME Executive Director Resigns, Ted Ts’o on EXT4, Fedora 14 and OpenBSD 4.8 Released

GNOME bluefish



  • I’m back again ( GNU/Linux retrospection )
    Just a few weeks ago, I decided I should try something new to refresh my development inventory. I decided I should learn QT. After installing it, suddenly I remembered the good old GNU/Linux day’s and that was it. I was back, After trying various distributions I decided I should go on with Gentoo. Now I’m back and I’m planning to stay for a while. I’m about to rediscover my native world with all it’s pros and con’s. To join the community again. I’m glad I’m back….

  • Official Mac and Linux ID Card Software Released

    As of today, people using Macintosh and Linux operating systems can use Estonian ID cards with official software from a government agency rather than stopgap volunteer-developed programs.

    The official Macintosh ID software is available for OS 10.5 and 10.6 while the Linux versions were developed for the three most common Linux systems in Estonia: Ubuntu 10.04, Open Suse 11.3, and Fedora 13.

  • The Corporate Hoax on Linux Revisited, or I Said It Once...
    As for "no Linux drivers," I'm not sure where that comes from. Yes, there is some hardware out there with no readily available Linux drivers, but I'm hard-pressed to name any. I'm sure readers can provide their lists. Still, I've seen no evidence Linux is more deficient in available drivers. Anecdotally, my personal experience has been the opposite.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung, Google said to be launching Nexus Two Android phone
      Samsung and Google are planning to announce a "Nexus Two" heir to the Galaxy S smartphone on Nov. 8 based on Android 2.3, says industry reports. Another report says the Nexus Two will go on sale exclusively in the U.K. for the holiday season.

  • Kernel Space

    • China Mobile Joins Linux Foundation as Gold Member
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that China Mobile Communications Corporation (”China Mobile”), whose holding company is majority shareholder of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), has become a Gold member, marking the first time a Chinese enterprise has joined The Linux Foundation.

    • Ted Ts'o: EXT4 Within Striking Distance Of XFS
      Our most recent desktop testing of the EXT4 file-system (along with Btrfs) indicate performance regressions in the Linux 2.6.36 kernel, while previous to that we also compared these two latest Linux file-systems to the ZFS-FUSE file-system, and when using these file-systems on a solid-state drive. Benchmarks of both EXT4 and Btrfs atop the latest Linux 2.6.37 kernel development code will be available in the coming weeks.

    • I have the money shot for my LCA presentation
      Thanks to Eric Whitney’s benchmarking results, I have my money shot for my upcoming 2011 LCA talk in Brisbane, which will be about how to improve scalability in the Linux kernel, using the case study of the work that I did to improve scalability via a series of scalability patches that were developed during 2.6.34, 2.6.35, and 2.6.36 (and went into the the kernel during subsequent merge window).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Improving The Linux Desktop: 20 Needed Fixes
      1) Focus on the casual user first, geek second. Many among you will likely point out that nine times out of ten, a Google search holds the answer to the most common questions people have when working with desktop Linux.

      Unfortunately, not everyone out there knows the right questions to ask Google in the first place. What’s needed is some kind of easy-to-use GUI troubleshooting tool that can be used to gather debugging information. This would make a trip to the various Linux forums a lot more productive for everyone involved.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What Will Happen to GNOME Now?
        Those who remember a time before Ubuntu will undoubtedly also remember that GNOME, although probably the second most popular desktop manager, didn't hold too much share of the Linux desktop market. KDE was king, and GNOME was a distant second. Then Ubuntu appeared and not only climbed its way to the top of the distribution game, but brought GNOME with it. Polls over the last few years have shown its use increasing to the point that it is oftentimes equalling or out-ranking KDE. But what will happen to GNOME now that Ubuntu 11.04 is going to ship with Unity?

      • Changing Roles
        I have really enjoyed working with GNOME over the past 2+ years. Working with the GNOME community on creating a free desktop accessible to everyone has been fun and exciting – as well as challenging – which is part of the fun. :) It is the community that makes GNOME, and it’s working with that community, in particular the board, that has made my job so much fun.

        Over the past two years I think we’ve made great progress with the GNOME Foundation. We’ve more than doubled our income both from corporate investors and individuals. We’ve made great technical progress especially with all of the hackfests. And we’re well on our way to GNOME 3.0 which is looking like a solid release at this time. In addition we’ve grown teams and processes like the marketing team, the sys admin team and the travel committee. And you know all this because we’ve also improved our communication processes with things like the quarterly report and more active use of the GNOME Foundation blog.

      • Ubuntu's Game-Changing Quest for 'Unity'
        Yes, for those who missed it, Natty Narwhal -- or Ubuntu 11.04 -- will not use the distribution's longtime GNOME Shell as the default desktop interface. Rather, it will feature the 3D and multitouch-enabled Unity, which just appeared in the netbook edition of Maverick Meerkat earlier this month.

      • Using Unity – Day 6
        Today I will tackle one of the areas where Unity irritates me a bit: Notifying me of actionable windows/programs.

      • Is Ubuntu Forking Gnome With Unity?

      • Install Unity to experience the future of Ubuntu
        Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the last couple of days, you know that Canonical has announced it is moving away from GNOME being the default desktop and switching to it’s netbook-centric desktop Unity. Why was this done? Mark Shuttleworth said that having a single interface for both netbook and desktop would improve quality assurance and make it easier for OEMs to integrate and support the desktop. I want to believe the reason is because Canonical has big, very big, things in store for the planet’s favorite Linux distribution.

      • Thoughts on Ubuntu and (dis-)Unity(?)
        Ok, so now pretty much anyone who is interested in this sort of thing has heard that Ubuntu will be changing from Gnome to the Unity desktop for their standard distribution in the 11.04 release. There are so many sides to this, and so many different ways to look at it, that I start getting dizzy every time I really try to get into it.

      • gtk hackfest summary
        perhaps the most surprising takeaway from the hackfest is that gtk4 is coming quite soon. we plan to do the bulk of the work required to get it out the door in 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Are there too many Linux Distributions?
      Only the newbies or newcomers are confused at first about the options. But they usually does not have hundreds of choice, they only have to choose one out of five.

      When someone tells me he wants to run Linux instead of Windows, and asks me which one to choose, I in no way face him with 20 or 200 options, I only gave him five at the most, usually only three, or even two.

      If we see the distrowatch home page, we can see the five most popular distributions in this order:

      1. Ubuntu 2. Fedora 3. Mint 4. openSUSE 5. Debian

    • What is today's most popular linux distribution?
      Distrowatch, which ranks the popularity of Linux distributions based on page hits, does not include Android on its list. The top 10 Linux distributions there, as of this writing and with data based on the last 6 months, are:

      1. Ubuntu 2. Fedora 3. Mint 4. OpenSUSE 5. Debian 6. PCLinuxOS 7. Mandriva 8. Sabayon 9. Arch 10. Puppy

    • Reviews

      • ZEN-Mini Gnome 2010.10 Reviewed! “Flying Under the Radar”


        * Small and light * Great Desktop look * Easy to use Package Manager * Great support via forums and PCLinuOS emagazine * Can be remastered easily


        * Gnome panel still buggy * Mount other partitions at boot with no easy way to turn off * Overall limited package selection * Long term support unknown * Need for 3rd-party repository similar to ARCH’s AUR

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0 International DVD
        Today we announce the availability of the international Trisquel 4.0.1 LTS DVD images, which include 50 language translation packs with up to 130 dialectal variants and come complete with writing tools, input methods, unicode fonts and spell checkers. This new edition was already used as the base for the current FSF live membercard system.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.10 Distribution Available
        If you haven't tried PCLinuxOS until now, this would be a good time to do so. If you are already running it, make a note to update your installation media, so that installing it for your friends and family when they see how nice it is and how well it works. Good stuff, congratulations once again to everyone involved in the PCLinuxOS distribution.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat near Key Resistance Area
        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $42.73 with the current price action closing at just $42.26 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • RHN Satellite 5.4, first analysis
        In another post, I was speculating about the upstream version. Now, Sat540 seems to be based on Spacewalk 1.2 which is not yet released. I was quite puzzled about that fact. Usually upstream (Fedora) projects are ahead of its commercial counterparts, this time it seems to be the other way round.

      • Fedora

        • ITworld review: Fedora 14 is leading-edge Linux
          The full distribution also includes the newest version of the KDE desktop, KDE 4.5.2, but I'll be darned if I ever met a Fedora user who used KDE. Fedora has long been known as the GNOME's user GNOME Linux of choice.

        • Fedora 14 vs. Ubuntu Maverick: Distinct Differences
          As contemporaries, Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10 provide an apt comparison. In past releases, the two distributions have been the most downloaded distributions on Distrowatch -- although Ubuntu usually has 20-40% more downloads -- and there is no reason to think these latest releases will be much different.

        • Fedora 14 Desktop Edition

        • Fedora 14 released with new features for developers
          The Fedora development community announced on Tuesday the official release of Fedora 14, codenamed Laughlin. The new version is a bit light on user-facing changes, but adds some useful features for developers. Fedora typically issues a new release every six months and is loosely aligned with the GNOME development cycle. Each release brings updated software and some new packages.

          Fedora 14 ships with GNOME 2.32, a transitional GNOME release that introduces some important architectural changes under the hood in preparation for GNOME 3. There aren't many new GNOME features on the surface, however, because the GNOME developers are largely focused on preparing a new shell that will significantly overhaul the next version of the desktop. KDE 4.5, which was released in August, is also available in Fedora 14. It has a new notification system and preliminary support for tiling in the KWin window manager.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, Is it a perfect 10/10 ? : A Review
          For a convert from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X, the new Ubuntu 10.10 feels tempting to use! But, a regular Ubuntu user wont find anything ground breaking in the new release, although it can be considered a polished Lucid. However, the improvements in the sound applet are worth mentioning.

          Lucid Lynx was a big leap in terms of UI from Karmic by trashing the old brown theme and functionality by replacing Gimp as the default Photo Editor. Maverick improves on that. The next iteration in the Ubuntu release, 11.04 Natty Narwhal will come under the lime light on April 28, 2011.

          By the way we are going to give Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat a 9/10 rating.

        • Ending Another Chapter
          So for the last 5 years I’ve been associated with the Ubuntu ecosystems and dedicated a large chunk of my time trying to get the distro properly translated into Brazilian Portuguese and doing a lot of advocating along the way. I even got to attend the very first UDS-MTV and meet some of those guys and gals I had spent so much time talking/working online. It was a bitter sweet moment and an eye opener, as I was able to see first hand the direction that the distribution was heading to. Not too long after that I started moving away from my involvement, resigning from several groups I had belonged to to a very minimum core associations.

          Why I kept the Ubuntu Members membership for the past 3 years is a bit hard to explain in a few paragraphs, so I’ll save it for another time. I guess I had hoped that things would be a bit different and that Ubuntu would indeed become the contender for making sure that FLOSS projects would be first citizens in their plans. I also hoped that all of my hard work and the ground work I laid out for my successors would be acknowledged but it seems that the past has been forgotten by all.

          So in 6 days my membership will expire and with it the last thread still connecting me to Ubuntu will expire. I will remove my blog from Ubuntu Planet (I can hear a few cheers already for I have deliberately been harsh towards the directions Canonical has taken the distribution) and all of my efforts will be directed at helping the GNOME Foundation and the GNOME 3.0 release.

        • PPAs Turning Ubuntu into Arch?
          A few years ago I started hearing about ppas everywhere. More and more, I see developers telling people that if they want the latest of program X, they should load the developer’s ppa. A ppa is a repository of software that is neither maintained by Canonical nor the Ubuntu community.

        • Dell PowerEdge Ubuntu certifications

          I hope you didn’t miss the fantastic news that Dell has expanded the PowerEdge servers that are certified for Ubuntu Server Edition. We’ve also worked with them to port and package OpenManage 6.3 to Ubuntu which is important for anyone who uses this systems management framework.

        • The Major Happenings From The Ubuntu 11.04 Summit
          UDS Natty also resulted in discussions for better helping free software developers in their contributions to Ubuntu to make them easier and for advancing work in areas like multi-touch and gestures. There's also work planned on tools and resources for game developers. Lastly, with the Ubuntu Software Center they will begin working on a feature for adding support to donate money to free software projects through this "Ubuntu app store."

        • Living with a Maverick Meerkat
          The verdict? Change is a really difficult process. But it is those little steps that keep you moving forward. This is true for both Ubuntu and me. The Ubuntu OS still has a few more steps to go before it can be truly consumer-friendly. As for myself, to be honest, I was tempted to revert back to Windows on a number of occasions. On the other hand, after more than a week, I am still playing with Maverick Meerkat even as I write this very piece.

        • Move to Ubuntu
          A recent post in Planet Gnome about moving away from Arch into Ubuntu got me thinking, because I just did the same thing a few weeks ago, when Ubuntu 10.10 was released. But I didn’t really liked the reasons I did so.

          First, I love Arch Linux. It’s simplicity and speed are amazing. It’s clearly focused on power users, which is great for me. It’s package manager (Pacman) is very fast and powerful, while still easy to use. I love how I can search and query packages both installed and from the cache with concise commands that usually do what you want at the first time. Compared to Ubuntu’s apt-cache and apt-get, which I usually have to read the man page to remember a few commands and to Fedora’s yum, which I’m never comfortable with, Pacman is always the winner. If that was not enough, you can create useful packages in under 10 minutes. Better yet if you can find a pre-made PKGBUILD in AUR, which contains thousands of recipes to build packages. The binary packages are usually enough for a desktop, but sometimes you do need to dig into Yaourt, which automatically downloads and compiles recipes. It is time-consuming sometimes, but comparing to finding a PPA with a decent enough version of a package that you can’t find in Ubuntu, it’s not much different.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Introducing Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS
            In the end, I think Pinguy OS has a good concept, but at this stage it needs some polish in the implementation. The idea of taking Ubuntu and adding popular software and giving the system a familiar interface is a good one (it has served the Mint community well). However, the approach feels unfocused. Including popular codecs and software for a wide range of activities is a good plan, but in Pinguy's case it makes the menu feel cluttered. Sometimes unnecessarily. For instance, why do I have five image viewers/editors, but no GIMP? If the distro is targeting newcomers then why include VirtualBox? For that matter, I find it odd that the system includes three graphical package managers. Likewise, there are two CPU usage monitors on the desktop, two network monitors and two clocks. All four sides of the desktop covered with panels which will cover up windows when they are moved into the same space. It feels crowded visually and takes up a noticeable amount of resources. I feel Pinguy OS would benefit from looking at Zenwalk and following the clean and integrated one-app-per-task approach and avoid making users choose between three different video players.

            Granted, this is early in the project's development and it's not reasonable to expect perfection the first time. And to Mr Norman's credit, this initial release does achieve its goal of giving the user almost all of the software they need straight out of the box without requiring additional configuration. I'm hoping we see a new version of Pinguy down the line which combines the large selection of pre-installed software with a less busy interface.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Install Apps from Terminal
            This Screencast gives you an introduction on how to install, delete and search for software from the terminal with the command line tool apt-get.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • An Improved Experience With Qt Scene Graph
          Just days after blogging about Gallium3D and the TGSI IR that could be replaced with LLVM IR in LunarGLASS, Zack Rusin has written a new entry regarding 2D acceleration and the lack of really any innovation or major changes to this area of graphics processing in recent years. However, that is beginning to change at least in the Nokia world when it comes to QML and Qt Scene Graph.

          Zack basically goes on to say in his latest blog post that the 2D rendering model really hasn't changed in years and that there's much more that could be done to speed-up the process and make it more efficient. Among the 2D model shortcomings mentioned by Zack are pixmaps and surfaces are created too many times when they could be reused when the window and its widgets don't change (or change minimally), pushing the data from every draw call into a temporary buffer and then copying it all at once, creating a shader cache for fill and composition modes, and the GPU downloading the same data with every frame being rendered.

      • Android

        • Android Continues to Gobble Up Mobile OS Share
          Google's wildly popular Android mobile operating system gained even more momentum in the third quarter at the expense, primarily, of Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices, according to latest smartphone industry data.

          According to market researcher NPD Group, Android expanded its lead among mobile operating system providers with 44 percent of smartphones sold in the quarter, up 11 percent from what was a blowout second quarter.

          Meanwhile, Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIM) BlackBerry OS tumbled to third place in the third quarter, slipping from 28 percent to 22 percent. Apple's iOS inched up 1 percent to 23 percent, good enough to take over the No. 2 spot among mobile OS installed on new smartphones sold in the quarter.

        • Highlights of the upcoming release
          Hannes lately implemented a lot of new features that were listed in the Roadmap, and I just made available a new apk on our google code page. The contributions have been merged in the main repository a few moments ago, and the changelog is in the message that Hannes sent to our mailing list. You can get an overview of the new features by looking at the following pictures and videos that Hannes made and shared.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Would the Amish Use This Hand-Cranked Laptop?
        The answer, basically, is yes.

        For the Amish, the bigger issue relates to connecting to the outside world. "Not being on the grid continues to be universal in Amish life," explains professor David L. Weaver-Zercher, author of The Amish Way. "There is kind of a symbolic thing with the grid, that the wires themselves are physically connecting your house. That is a clear connection to worldly ways of doing things that we want to avoid."

Free Software/Open Source

  • For the Symbian Foundation, Time Wasn't the Only Problem
    It was all the way back in October of 2009 that an open kernel for the Symbian platform was released to the world. It's important to note that at that time, the Symbian platform had 50 percent share in the smartphone market. It's also important to note that the Symbian Foundation had hoped to deliver its open source tools much earlier than that.


    The Symbian Foundation simply didn't find the right ways and the right pace at which to challenge the smartphone platforms that were beginning to move with great momentum. This was a colossal failure of judgment from an extremely well-funded organization, and at this point, there is not likely to be a turnaround for the Symbian platform.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Better Web Browsers for Linux and Everyone Else
        Just about all the mainstream web browsers today are available for download in Linux. Since most of your computing time is likely spent in front of the browser, you shouldn't just settle with the one that came preinstalled with your distribution. We'll review four different browsers you can use in Linux, where you can pick the one that's best for you.

      • Does Firefox Tuning Make Firefox Faster?
        Like Chrome, Firefox has a somewhat hidden configuration area that enables users to adjust certain features of the browser. It this feature that you will have to access when you stumble across Firefox tuning tips that have been posted for years across the web. Do they work and if so, what effect do they have. We took the regular and modified Firefox out for a spin.

      • Mozilla: 10 Bugs Left In Firefox 4 Beta 7
        They may be serious this time: Mozilla just announced that there are only 10 bugs left to fix in the current pre-release version of the Firefox 4 Beta 7. It appears that the software could be released to the public within two weeks. The mobile Beta 2 for Firefox 4, known as Fennec, is already in testing and work on Beta 3 has begun.

      • Implementing A High-Performance Emulator In Javascript Using Run-Time Code Generation
        For a while I've been thinking about exploiting fast browser JITs and JS "eval()" to build really fast emulators and other language runtimes. Tonight I was feeling jumpy so I went ahead and hacked something up.

  • Oracle

    • Mass resignations from
      Oracle's decision to decline to get involved with the Document Foundation and its announcement that it planned to continue to develop OpenOffice was followed by a call from an Oracle employee and council member Louis Suárez-Potts for council members with a connection with the Document Foundation to resign due to a conflict of interest.

    • The Oracle Fiasco's Impact
      I now feel confident that things such as Firefox, Chrome, Linux, and the like are safe from megacorps. They're safe from the hands of those who seek to control markets and products. Users are safe to consider the software they purchase their own without fear of prosecution should they need to change the software in some or redistribute the software for some reason.

    • Integration Watch: Oracle, IBM, and Google… and Java
      The early-October announcement from IBM that it was joining the OpenJDK project and abandoning Apache Harmony sent immediate ripples through the Java community. The predictable early reaction was that this was another step in Oracle’s litigation-based attack on Google. That dispute centers on a handful of software patents that Oracle claims were violated by Google’s use of technology that derived in part from Apache Harmony. According to this scheming view, by convincing IBM to support Harmony’s competitor, OpenJDK, Oracle marooned the search giant on an island of technology that had no future, save whatever enhancements Google might care to make.

    • New: 3.3.0 Release Candidate 3 (build OOO330m13) available

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m91) available

    • 3.3.0 Almost Here - Is It the Last? 3.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on November 1 with many updates and new features that have been in development for the last six months or more. This comes when as many as 33 developers are handing in their resignations. While the loss of the German team is unlikely to affect this release, one has to wonder what the future holds for

    • Go LibreOffice !!!
      I have also sent a trivial cleanup patch in that was accepted, so now I know that if I ever have an annoying bug in LibreOffice I will not treat it with a shrug as I would do with proprietary software and as until now but will feel confident diving in the code.

    • Open letter to the JCP Executive Committee calling for JCP reform
      Indeed, the central problem with the current JCP is lack of transparency and openness. Although the JCP defines itself as "the open, participative process to develop and revise the Java technology specifications, reference implementations and test suites", it's not very open nor participative in practice. The community is almost entirely excluded when developing so called "open standards".

    • 2010 JCP EC Election Results

    • Inside the coup

    • Fork off: mass exodus from OOo as contributors join LibreOffice

      The (OOo) community has declared independence from Oracle as members have joined the LibreOffice project, a fork of the open source office suite. In an open letter published on the OOo mailing list, a group of over 30 contributors affirmed their intention to abandon Oracle's code base in favor of LibreOffice. They say that the fork's more inclusive environment and community-driven management offer a powerful opportunity to advance the software.

      The LibreOffice project launched last month amid concerns that Oracle would not rectify the long-standing problems with the OOo development process and governance model. The fork was backed by The Document Foundation, a newly formed organization that includes Linux heavyweights Red Hat, Novell, Google, and Canonical among its supporters. The group initially hoped that Oracle would agree to participate, but the enterprise software giant appears to have no interest in finding a middle ground. Oracle insists that participating in both projects poses a conflict of interest and responded to the fork by forcing TDF members who have seats on the OOo community council to step down from their elected roles in OOo leadership. Oracle's uncompromising attitude has now instigated a mass exodus of OOo community members as independent contributors flock to LibreOffice.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Software Firm Acquia Raises Another $8.5 Million
      Acquia, a company that sells products and services for popular open source content management system Drupal, has announced an $8.5 million round of funding led by by North Bridge Venture Partners.

      Although open source and capitalism may seem fundamentally opposed, Acquia — which has now brought in a total of $23.5 million of funding over three rounds — continues to highlight the commercial potential of open source projects. Other commercial open source business models include Automattic’s, the hosted version of and Dotnetnuke’s enterprise solutions.

    • Drupal Founder on Why Open Source is Good for Business [INTERVIEW]
      One of the things I’ve learned from Drupal is that commercial interests are a really good thing. But they have to be managed properly. For example, I think that the reason Drupal is successful is the community. I think the reason we have such a large community is because so many people make money with Drupal. They use Drupal to build websites for their customers. So it’s a tool that allows people to make money, and because they’re making money with Drupal, they’re invested in the project and they contribute to the project because their business depends on it.

  • Business

    • Community Escrow
      The story can easily be different with open source. If there is a market demand large enough to justify starting a new business to take on the code, as was the case for ForgeRock, it's entirely possible there will be someone ready to provide seamless continuity. Otherwise, the businesses who have been working in the community are likely to have solutions for you. The fact they have been free to study and modify the code means they will have skills that only the staff of the vendor can have in the case of proprietary software. They may be able to provide continuity; at a minimum they will be able to support you as you plan a graceful migration.

      What can prevent this option existing? A community escrow option can only exist if your software freedoms have been respected and the sorts of measures in addition to open source licencing that Andy Updegrove mentions have been taken. If the product was "open core" - with the key commercial features kept proprietary - it will be very hard for anyone to provide continuity. This is especially true if you are using the software as a service, because the critical know-how to make the software reliably run in the cloud is unlikely to be included in the open source project. If your vendor scorns co-developers, there may well be no-one out there ready to step in. It's thus not a matter of mere philosophy to check your software freedoms are protected; your ability to use community escrow to manage a vendor failure may be at stake.

  • Funding

    • Who Really Pays for Open Source Software?
      There has been significant growth in the open source software market over the last decade and as popularity continues to grow, the market doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. The Open Source community frequently attracts very intelligent, motivated and experienced developers driven by pride, personal curiosity and peer recognition to develop valuable solutions. No matter how much personal satisfaction developers receive from seeing the result of their efforts however, software developers still have to pay the bills and have some money left over to eat. So, how can software that isn’t for sale actually make money?

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 4.8 released
      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 4.8. This is our 28th release on CD-ROM (and 29th via FTP). We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of more than ten years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 4.8 Brings Improved Hardware Support
      OpenBSD 4.7 came out this past summer, but OpenBSD 4.8 is now available for those interested in this BSD operating system that focuses on providing portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security, and integrated cryptography. With OpenBSD 4.8 there is now ACPI-based suspend-and-resume support for most systems utilizing Intel or ATI graphics, but the suspend-and-resume support when utilizing NVIDIA graphics is still problematic. There's also other hardware support improvements, new tools, daemon improvements, and various other improvements to this free software operating system.

    • DragonFly BSD 2.8 adds root partition encryption
      Developer Matthew Dillon has announced the release of version 2.8 of DragonFly BSD, a FreeBSD fork. Dillon notes that this major release features the return of the GUI and a larger 4GB USB image, which includes several additional packages, a functional X environment and full sources and Git repositories. According to Dillon, the developers are seeking feedback on this release and will "likely expand the number of packages and improve the environment in future releases".

  • Project Releases

    • Release Notes for Rockbox 3.7
      The Rockbox project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Rockbox 3.7. Five months have passed since the last release, and in that time we've been busy adding new supported devices, adding features and fixing bugs to give you the best Rockbox experience yet on the widest range of targets ever.

  • Government

    • Taking Collaborative Risk at The State Department
      One success factor for Richard and his team as they guide the work style shift is focusing on “the how rather than the what” for starters and saving the “thorniest issues” for last. By thorniest issues, Richard means U.S. policy and diplomacy. Meantime, he and his colleagues are encouraging culture shift and emphasizing use of collaborative tools for brainstorming improvements in “how” policy can be crafted. As the culture warms to the new way of working, the change agents believe diplomats will more collaboratively create policy itself.

    • Productively lost in Cape Town: POSSE goes South Africa
      What can you do with a boardroom, a projector, and a wifi access point? A movie night, you say? Nope. Just a few tools is all it took to get Mel Chua and Jan Wildeboer (from Red Hat) and Pierros Papadeas (from Fedora) together with local organizer Michael Adeyeye from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The event? A week-long workshop on the principles of open source communities and how to employ these in university-level teaching--in Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Licensing

    • Are You in Compliance with Open Source?
      At the LinuxCon event this past August, the Linux Foundation officially announced a new license compliance program to help ease adoption of open source technologies. The checklist is one of the deliverables of the new compliance program, though it's not a complete solution to ensure that an enterprise is fully open source license compliance.

      The self-assessment checklist for open source compliance provides enterprises with best practices on how to properly comply with open source license requirements. The checklist does not, however, provide a scoring mechanism by which enterprises can gauge their own levels of compliance.

    • The VLC-iOS license dispute and how it could spread to Android
      Video fanatics were thrilled when an iOS version of VLC made its way to the App Store recently. Finally, users could watch all manner of videos in a number of codecs from their iPhones or iPads, just like they do with the (ever-popular) VLC desktop clients. That may not last forever, though: a wrench has now been thrown into the mix by one of the many VLC code contributors, leading to a complex dispute over VLC's GNU Public License (GPL) and whether an app released through the App Store—or any mobile OS store, for that matter—violates that license.

      Many of our readers are already quite familiar with VLC—the software is available for many platforms as open source through the GPLv2. VLC is promoted and managed by the nonprofit association VideoLAN, and the code itself is constantly being developed and improved by hundreds of programmers around the world. So, how did the VLC iOS app get into this mess, and what's really going on?

    • FSF position on GPLv2 & current App Store terms
      salsaman asked me to come on this list and explain the FSF's position on the current terms of service for Apple's App Store, and how those relate to GPLv2. There have been changes to the terms since our original blog post on the topic. I confirmed that the changes did not affect the GPLv2 analysis before I blogged about Rémi's enforcement action, but it's fair to ask me to show my work and I'm happy to do that here.

      That's all I'm here to do: point out the facts and explain the FSF's analysis. If you all have questions about what I've written here, just ask and I'll be happy to answer those too, publicly or privately. I only ask that you have a little patience when you're expecting a reply: I'm several time zones behind most of you.

    • Why Apple may never reach the mass market and why it's so obvious
      There is no mass market for Apple goods and there never will be.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Hardware & Arduino
        Usually I work only with the software, I’m not an expert of the hardware, but the excellent presentation by Riccardo Lemmi made me want to read a bit of material on the world of open hardware in general and Arduino in particular.

        Open source hardware ( OSHW ) consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software (FOSS). Open source hardware is part of the open source culture movement and applies a like concept to a variety of components. The term usually means that information about the hardware is easily discerned. Hardware design (i.e.schematics, bill of materials and PCB layout data) in addition to the software that drives the hardware are all released with the FOSS approach .

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Filesystem Hierarchal Standard
      If you open nautilus and browse to the root filesystem, you’ll see something that looks like the image to the left.

      This is the default layout of the filesystem in Ubuntu 10.10, and is a peek into the ancient (by computer science standards) history and genealogy of Linux. The directories listed above are holdouts from one of the oldest standards, the Filesystem Hierarchal Standard, FHS. FHS is the system that defines what belongs where.

    • Introducing: the Simple Java API for ODF
      We really want your help with this API. This is not one of those faux-open source projects, where all the code is developed by one company. We want to have a real community around this project. So if you are at all interested in ODF and Java, I invite you to take a look:

      1. Download the 0.2 release of the Simple Java API for ODF. The wiki also has important info on install pre-reqs. 2. Work through some of the cookbook to get an idea on how the API works. 3. Sign up and join the ODF Toolkit Union project. 4. Join the users mailing list and ask questions. Defect reports can go to our Bugzilla tracker. 5. If you want to contribute patches, more info on the wiki for how to access our repository.

    • A Presidenta Dilma Rousseff dá grande apoio ao Software Livre


  • Being untouchable no longer

    When President Obama visits India next month, it is quite certain that he will pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, perceived around the world as one of history's most celebrated symbols of liberation, and a source of inspiration for the US president himself.

    But there are calls within India for Obama to look further than Gandhi in paying homage to Indian heroes. For India's community of 167 million Dalits, once known as "untouchables", the true icon is Dr B R Ambedkar. Himself an untouchable, Dr Ambedkar gained doctorates from Columbia University, where President Obama, too, was educated, and at the London School of Economics, before becoming the architect of independent India's new constitution.

  • Judge realizes: on the Internet, no one can tell you're a kid
    A federal judge today issued an injunction against a new Massachusetts law that tried to apply its "matter harmful to minors" law to the Internet. Because it's difficult to ascertain someone's age on the 'Net, that attempt turned out to be far too broad.

  • Shocker! Kids spending too much time in front of TV screens, too little in loving parents' embrace
    When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers' coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

    There was an interesting story on WXYZ ABC Channel 7 television out of Detroit last week about how auto thieves just love GM's $60,000 plus Cadillac Escalade as well as GM's Tahoe and Yukon Denali. Apparently, experienced thieves can steal a Cadillac Escalade in about 14 seconds, and have it totally stripped in about 20 minutes.


    Well, the old fashion way.

  • Another Extremist+Engineering Data Point?
    The just-barely-thwarted printer cartridge bomb attempt of last week represents an interesting data point in the question of why Are So Many Political Extremists Engineers.

  • Radio 3 survey analyses the happiness of the nation
    When asked what caused personal unhappiness, 65% of the 2,000 respondents cited finances – putting it way beyond family problems (32%), health (27%) and the welfare of their children (21%). In addition:

    * 63% of people feel they need a salary of 40k or more to be happy and 68% would need a better salary to make them happier in their employment * 88% of those surveyed said that winning the lottery would make them happier * Money was the one thing that would make 50% of respondents happier overnight – far outweighing spending more time with family which was the top priority for only 9% of participants, better health (9%) or a new job (8%)

  • In which we betray our gender
    The comic below is a compulsive response to a recent, entirely unremarkable little dust-up over on Twitter concerning the excruciatingly polite, brief comments of a certain cartoonist concerning the way dudes talk about women cartoonists — and the shitstorm of whiny nonsensical defensive outrage that inevitably followed, just like any other time anyone on the internet has ever hinted at the possibility that perhaps, maybe, women could be treated a little more like, you know, humans.

  • Police Issued Guidelines On How To Behave While Trapped In A Wicker Man

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Haitian cholera epidemic preventable
      The cholera outbreak in Haiti need not have happened.

      In just a few days, cholera has killed more than 250 Haitians, with more than 3,500 becoming ill. Cholera is caused by drinking dirty water or eating food cooked in contaminated water.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Leak 'did not compromise sources'
      The posting of tens of thousands of secret Afghan war logs by the WikiLeaks website earlier this year compromised no sensitive intelligence sources or practices, the US Defence Department has said.

      But the military said the leak's disclosure in July of the names of Afghans who co-operated with the US put them at risk, and would probably cause significant harm to US national security interests.

    • US army amasses biometric data in Afghanistan
      Since the Guardian witnessed that incident, which occurred near the southern city of Kandahar earlier this year, US soldiers have been dramatically increasing the vast database of biometric information collected from Afghans living in the most wartorn parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

      The US army now has information on 800,000 people, while another database developed by the country's interior ministry has records on 250,000 people.

    • F35 Joint Strike Fighter – The Biggest Procurement Mistake Ever
      What exactly does Canada plan to do with the JFS? That may sound like a stupid question. It’s a fighter aircraft. You use it to fight. But what specifically are the targets? What is the range required? How many of them do we need to defend Canada?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP was warned about cement at gulf disaster well
      Halliburton, the US company responsible for the cement that was supposed to seal the well and prevent the fatal blow-out, carried out two tests of the mixture in February.

    • One-fifth of world's back-boned animals face extinction, study warns

      One species is added to the endangered list every week as the risk of extinction spreads to almost one-fifth of the world's vertebrates, according to a landmark study released today.

      The Evolution Lost report, published in the journal Science by more than 100 of the world's leading zoologists and botanists, found that populations of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species had declined by an average of 30% in the past 40 years.

    • In this remote town in Mali, climate change takes on a sinister reality
      This is another paradox of climate-change politics: it is in remote places like this that climate change will hit first and hardest. It is cultures built on deep understanding of their environment – whether the Sami of the Arctic or the Dogon of the Sahara – whose way of life is the first to be threatened. Anakila's residents are the canaries down the mine, their experience a foretaste of an Earth hostile to human inhabitation. But their experience of threat, potential devastation and loss of livelihood is discounted and ignored. No dunes are threatening Manchester.

  • Finance

    • More on the Mortgage Mess
      Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said recently that federal regulators are “looking intensively” at banks’ foreclosure practices. An investigation is long overdue, though it shouldn’t take a lot of digging.

    • How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater
      IN Congressional hearings last week, Obama administration officials acknowledged that uncertainty over foreclosures could delay the recovery of the housing market. The implications for the economy are serious. For instance, the International Monetary Fund found that the persistently high unemployment in the United States is largely the result of foreclosures and underwater mortgages, rather than widely cited causes like mismatches between job requirements and worker skills.

    • What would the 2010 deficit have been without the financial crisis?

    • Why growth will stay too weak to ease unemployment

    • Irish Court Backs 'Bad Bank' Structure

    • AIG set to repay $37 billion in bailout money
      AIG said Monday it raised nearly $37 billion from the divestment of two foreign insurance units and will use that money to repay a government bailout.

      The sale of the two units fits into AIG's previously announced plan to repay the government's bailout in full. The repayment will include the government taking a bigger stake in the company and eventually needing to sell common stock in AIG to recoup its money, similar to what it is doing right now with Citigroup Inc. shares.

    • Debt Collectors Face a Hazard: Writer’s Cramp
      The debt in these cases — typically from credit cards, auto loans, utility bills and so on — is sold by finance companies and banks in a vast secondary market, bundled in huge portfolios, for pennies on the dollar. Debt buyers often hire collectors to commence a campaign of insistent letters and regular phone calls. Or, in a tactic that is becoming increasingly popular, they sue.

  • Scams

    • NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients, says chief scientist
      Professor Beddington said ministers agreed to fund homeopathy on the grounds of "public choice", despite there being "no real evidence" that the remedies work.

      "I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect and that there are serious concerns about its efficacy," Professor Beddington told the Commons science and technology committee today.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Total Election Awareness: Watch Voting Problem Reports in Real Time
      This election day, EFF is once again assisting the Election Protection Coalition (EPC) in their nationwide voter-protection efforts. Right now, you can follow their work and keep an eye on election problems across the US live at We've already logged over 1,000 reports today (November 1), and are expecting to see tens of thousands tomorrow on election day.

    • Morocco bars al-Jazeera for 'unfair' coverage

      Morocco has suspended the activities of al-Jazeera on its territory for what it said was unfair reporting that had damaged the country's reputation.

      The Moroccan communications ministry said it had noted several incidents in which the Qatar-based television station had violated journalistic standards for accuracy and objectivity.

    • Military wants to scan communications to find internal threats
      Now a Pentagon research arm is asking scientists to create a way to scan billions of e-mails to identify suspects in advance so that crimes can be stopped before they are committed.

      That's the goal of the latest $35 million project announced by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is credited with breakthroughs like the internet, GPS and stealth technology.

      But this latest idea is already is drawing fire from privacy and security experts.

    • No terror arrests in 100,000 police counter-terror searches, figures show
      The statistics show that 504 people out of the 101,248 searches were arrested for any offence – an arrest rate of 0.5%, compared with an average 10% arrest rate for street searches under normal police powers.

      The figures prompted the former Conservative home affairs spokesman David Davis to call for the controversial policy to be scrapped.

    • Arundhati Roy faces arrest over Kashmir remark
      The Booker prize-winning novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy is facing the threat of arrest after claiming that the disputed territory of Kashmir was not an integral part of India.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nifty: Kindle owners in China gain access to banned web pages
      The 3rd Generation Kindle with built-in Wi-Fi ($139, $189 for 3G) is one of the best gadgets on the market. It’s bookishly chic, weighing only 8.7oz (the iPad weighs 1.6lbs), boasts a month of battery life and provides storage for about 3,500 books.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Access Copyright to the Supreme Court: No Need for Greater Fair Dealing Certainty
        It is important to stress once again - as the Federal Court of Canada did - that the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category will not open the floodgates to copying, but rather open the door to analysis of whether particular copying meets the fair dealing test that Access Copyright itself is now defending. One would hope that Access Copyright would maintain the same position on C-32 - bright line tests are not possible, the courts have guidance from the six fairness factors, and it is better to maintain flexiblity in the fair dealing doctrine to allow the courts to address on a case-by-case basis using well known criteria.

      • Why The Recording Industry Is A Bad Investment
        There’s a ton more. All of them point to one thing. Musicians aren’t in it for the money, because they could make far better money doing honest work.

        So if musicians are paid so badly, why is the Canadian Recording Industry Association screaming so loudly about how Bill C-32 will help musicians? Simple. If they screamed about how much it would help the recording industry, no one would care. That Bill C-32 won’t help musicians doesn’t bother the CRIA member companies. Lying doesn’t bother them either. All that matters is that they make money.

      • Against Bill C-32: Creator Groups Stake Out Strong Anti-Copyright Bill Position
        When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers' coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

      • Second Reading for Bill C-32
        The copying levy actually works against the truly Independent recording artists (who comprised 30% of the Canadian Recording Industry at last count) who do not in fact share in the proceeds, but rather have to pay the levy themselves on the CDs they sell containing their own original material.

      • Copyrighted howl

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Unity desktop environment

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Credit: TinyOgg

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