Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 4/12/2010: Unity in Fedora, Raphaël Hertzog Says Success of Ubuntu Mostly Beneficial to Debian

GNOME bluefish



  • U.S. Air Force Creates Powerful Supercomputer Out Of PS3s
    The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has connected 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems together to create what the organization is calling the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department.

  • The Move To Linux - Encrypted Disk Issues
    One of the standards that has become normal in the US federal sector is the requirement that all mobile devices, such as laptops, have encrypted drives. This was a direct result of a number of laptop thefts earlier in the decade that resulted in the supposed leaking of personal information. As a former federal contractor, I watched a number of successful and not so successful methodologies implemented and deployed. Some resulted in real data protection and some resulted in wonderful bricks. In some cases on a regular (read daily) basis.

  • [rant] How do I do that?
    Two steps to fix this problem:

    * 1). Every project should have architects who set direction and whose opinion counts as gospel on decisions that will impact user experience. They can veto the silly wheel re-invention exercises. People who don’t like that can go hack on Linux From Scratch in their basement. * 2). Every project should work with independent industry bodies to standardize the moment some new feature comes along. So that there is one “Linux way” to do it, and not ten different but similar ways to do the same thing.

  • Where to get linux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Announces Individual Membership Drive
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced a new individual membership drive and promotion that makes members eligible to win free Store T-shirts, hats, mugs and more.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Holiday Improvements To The Unigine Engine
        Last week Unigine launched a game development competition where they will be granting a free Unigine Engine licensee to the development team that proposes the best original Linux game using their engine. This competition is still going on for a few more days so get your submissions soon [we are hoping to be able to share some of the submissions with you at some point]. While this competition may still be going on, the Russian developers behind Unigine continue working on the advanced, multi-platform game engine this holiday.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Out of the darkness comes Enlightenment

      Although KDE is my work horse, every day, desktop environment, I enjoy testing different environments from time to time. Enlightenment is one environment that I had wanted to try for a while. I remember seeing some beautiful Enlightenment screen shots about 10 years ago. However, at the time, installing it was not an easy task. And frankly, KDE fulfilled all my needs on a DE. However, my admiration for Enlightenment has never really gone away. So, I was glad when I heard that PCLinuxOS had a release sporting this DE. Knowing how easy it is to install and maintain a PCLinuxOS desktop, I thought this may be the time to finally give Enlightenment a try. And I was right.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE's Mobile Team Meets for First Sprint
        KDAB's Berlin office hosted the first Mobile Sprint for KDE contributors between the 18th and the 21st of November. The objective of the Sprint was to connect various KDE teams whose work in some way involves mobile platforms, so they could share experiences and work on improvements for all mobile projects.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat top corporate kernel contributor
        Red Hat continues to hold its lead as the main corporate contributor to the development of the Linux kernel, according to the annual Linux Foundation report on kernel development which has just been released.

        The report (PDF) shows that Red Hat contributed 23,356 changes to the kernel since the release of version 2.6.12 on June 17, 2005, amounting to 12.4 percent of the total. The kernel is now at version 2.6.35.

        Version 2.6.12 is the point at which the use of the version control system git was initiated to manage development of the kernel.

      • Red Hat employees remember to share their success
        It’s the best of times for Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), which is rolling for a billion dollar revenue year with profits at record highs and stock trading at a 52-week high of $47.74 on Friday.

        Yet it’s also a time for reflection as the choice of the Hatters’ annual charitable donation amplified at the company’s annual Christmas get-together.

        Employees voted again this year for the company to donate to charity rather that put on a Christmas bash. They chose that the corporate donation to be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

      • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Latest Enterprise Linux OS from Red Hat Shines in Server Room Roles
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux has long been a trusty go-to operating system option for most server roles, if not in its official Red Hat branded form, then in one of its respun incarnations, such as the fee-free CentOS or the Oracle rebrand Unbreakable Linux. Based on my tests of RHEL 6, I expect this new release to continue in that tradition—the new release performed as solidly as ever, and benefits from a support term that's been lengthened from seven to 10 years.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Moving to Unity Too!
          Despite all the negative reaction to Ubuntu's move to Unity, is it possible that another popular distribution is going to walk in its footsteps? Do they want to experience the backlash and exodus of users? Do they want to be subjected to a barrage of criticism? Well, no, not really. But Adam Williamson is working on making some Fedora packages for those that might want to test and run it.

        • Fuduntu gets a face lift
          I have been hard at work, improving the look and feel of Fuduntu Linux. Tonights updates bring much needed improvement to the desktop and panel icons.

    • Debian Family

      • Interview with Debian Developer Raphaël Hertzog: is Ubuntu beneficial for Debian?
        What’s the biggest problem of Linux?

        I’m always annoyed when some new hardware doesn’t work. It’s painful to have to google around to find out a solution. Sometimes you need a newer kernel, sometimes you need to build custom modules for your kernel, sometimes you need a firmware for a driver that you already have, sometimes you need a newer version of Xorg, etc.

        I wish all hardware manufacturers could get their drivers merged in Linux before their hardware hit the shelves of shops.

        Do you think the success of Ubuntu is beneficial for Debian or the opposite?

        I think it’s mostly beneficial.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Event matching in Upstart
          A little while ago I was asked to solve a problem that somebody was having with Upstart, and I realised that people weren’t understanding how things were actually working and were just muddling along when doing event matching in jobs. This is unfortunate, because it hides some of Upstart’s true power, so I thought it high time I actually explained this.

        • Myth Busted #3: Unity is “Lock-in”
          The development page on Launchpad shows that the code is GPLv3 and LGPLv3. If we check out the branches, you can see that there are a ton of active forks. 47 at the time of this writing.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Why I prefer Julia over Ubuntu Maverick
            Ubuntu lovers, don't get me wrong : I'm a big fun of ubuntu. In fact, I always encourage people to use ubuntu and I install it for them. However, with every new box I install ubuntu on, I find myself compelled to further enhance the fresh installation with new features. I know, ubuntu is great out of the box, it has great hardware detection capabilities, and is loaded with software that covers the needs of a casual user. Yet, default functionalities are not enough to turn a Windows-7-addicted into the ubuntu lover I want him to become. In fact, ubuntu new-comers get shocked by the new interface gnome offers, and frustrated when they find no flash support for their browsing. Hence, in order to fill that gap, I find myself downloading, installing and configuring new features, like compiz for visual effects, closed-source codecs for medias, system upgrades for more stability, a more friendly theme, etc...

          • Kubuntu 11.04 Sneak Peek [UDS Cookie]
            At every Ubuntu Developer Summit, the Ubuntu project comes together and tries to find new and exiting ways of breaking their own systems.

            So it also happened about a month ago in Orlando, FL. But let me focus on the Kubuntu bits and pieces, since Ubuntu is way to big a project to summarize all the awesomeness in one (sensibly long) blog post.

          • Linux for the Holidays
            Wait, what’s this! Existing members and non-members can also enter the drawing by mailing their name and email address to The Linux Foundation headquarters. The address and official rules for the drawing are available at the Linux Foundation website. Yea!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Mentor Graphics acquires GNU toolchain leader CodeSourcery
      Embedded software vendor Mentor Graphics, which supports Linux, Android, and Nucleus OS, has acquired "certain assets" of GNU-based toolchain vendor CodeSourcery, Inc., including Sourcery G++ and Sourcery VSIPL++. The deal essentially amounts to an acquisition of CodeSourcery, as the appointment of its CEO Mark Mitchell as director of embedded tools at Mentor demonstrates.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source Firm Decries Software Abuse
    An open-source software company claims a website violates its trademark and uses it to distribute a media-player program riddled with "potentially malicious" spyware. Geeknet and VideoLAN, creator of the VLC Media Player, claim Tightrope Interactive violated the VLC trademark, which VideoLAN has used since 1998.

  • Four Reasons To Pay Extra For Software Freedom

  • Corporate IT Needs to Embrace the Spirit of Open Source
    In an intra-business setting, we all work for the same company, right? Why shouldn't any and all code be freely available? Why should you have to write a new widget because your application doesn't have one yet? And if that widget API does exist from some other team, great. But why not also make its source code available?

  • December Project of the Month: Snor

    As we wave goodbye to what’s left of 2010, we also wrap up our months-long look at projects that have been with us for 10 years or more. The final project we’re highlighting this year is Snort, an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) developed by Sourcefire.

  • May the Source be with You
    This fully-featured suite of office programs comes with all the features you'd expect from the best of its kind, at a fraction of the cost. No, wait – it's free! For the cost of a few minutes of screen time, you can get a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing, painting and database program. Most will read and write files from the most popular commercial software. The database doesn't read Access files, but for most users, that won't be a problem. If you send files to friends or professors who are still using Office, be careful – Microsoft won't read format. Save it as a .doc file first. is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Meet the Newest (and Cutest) Mozillians
        On June 14, 2010, two female firefox (a.k.a red panda) cubs were born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, and as of today, they’ve officially joined the Mozilla community. To meet our newest (and cutest) Mozillians, visit For the next few months you’ll be able to watch these baby firefoxes play, live and grow via a 24 hour live video stream.

  • Oracle

    • From the Editors: Oracle is making friends
      Winning over IBM was a huge coup for Oracle, especially when you consider the fact that IBM is the one company that competes most obliquely with Oracle in hardware, database and software markets. And being able to keep Red Hat signed onto the project was another big win for Oracle: The company takes Red Hat's Linux as CentOS and rebrands it with its own kernel version and logos.

      And yet, both IBM and Red Hat are dedicated to the OpenJDK. Combine this with the news from Nov. 12 that Apple will also be joining the OpenJDK, and you've got quite an alliance of Java stakeholders all working on a single, unified Java.

  • Government

    • PT: Parliamentarians propose to make open standards mandatory
      Two left-wing political parties in the Portuguese parliament want to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations. Next week Friday, the parliament will discuss two motions, filed by the Left Bloc, with sixteen of the 230 seats in the parliament, and the Portuguese Communist Party, which has thirteen seats.

  • Licensing

    • SAP Oracle Support Verdict Gives Companies Another Reason to Use Open Source
      With the announcement of $1.3B in damages awarded to Oracle in the lawsuit against SAP , Oracle has made abundantly clear that they intend to do everything they can to lock customers in to their expensive and highly profitable maintenance and support fees. Of course TomorrowNow made it ridiculously easy for Oracle by stealing Oracle's IP, but Oracle seems likely to go after other third-party support providers as well.

    • Nook Color GPL update
      Barnes and Noble posted the source code to the Nook Color here, which is a much faster turnaround than last time so some sort of progress has definitely been made.


  • Parliament misses opportunity for wider involvement in Citizen's Initiatives
    Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee today approved its report on the draft regulation to set up a European Citizen's Initiative, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty. The change will enable any physical person to address the European Commission with a subject for legislative action as long as it falls within the competences of the Treaties.

  • China senior official urges lawyers to promote social justice
    [JURIST] A top Chinese official on Monday called on the country's lawyers to promote law enforcement and social justice [Xinhua report] and encouraged lawyers, prosecutors and government officials to build a community of support and respect. During a meeting attended by members of the country's law firms and bar associations, Zhou Yongkang [BBC profile], a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Republic of China [official website], urged Chinese lawyers to take on more pro bono cases and resolve conflicts in order to promote social well-being. Zhou also encouraged the country's courts to hire more lawyers to act as both judges and prosecutors.

  • Judge admits he violated rights
    A chancery judge has admitted he violated the rights of a Tupelo lawyer by having him jailed for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom, the state judicial watchdog group says.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along
      For three months Assange had been waiting in vain to hear whether media statements by and for the two female “victims” that there was no fear or violence were going to be embellished so the charges might be carried forward due to greater seriousness. Such statements would stop a rape charge in any Western country dead in its tracks. Rape is a crime of violence, duress or deception. You can rape someone by deluding them into thinking you are someone else or by drugging them or by reason of their young age but essentially it’s a crime of violence.

      The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for.

    • Why Amazon Caved, and What It Means for the Rest of Us
      Amazon Web Services dropped WikiLeaks material from its servers on Tuesday, a move that is widely assumed to be a direct response to pressure from the Senate Homeland Security Committee. A statement from Amazon disputed that, stating that they kicked WikiLeaks off for violating the terms of service: “For example, our terms of service state that ‘you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.’”

  • Finance

    • Feds Raid 3 Hedge Funds Linked to Trading Probe
      The FBI raided three hedge funds Monday in what one of the targets called a wide-ranging probe of insider trading in the financial industry.

      Bureau employees searched the New York offices of Level Global Investors LP, and the Stamford, Conn. headquarters of Diamondback Capital Management LLC, a law enforcement official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing case.

    • Insider Trading: An Arrest and A Green Light on Wiretaps
      Many folks will not be having much of a holiday this week with the feds stepping things up in what could be one of the most far-reaching insider trading cases ever.

      Earlier Wednesday, they made the first of what could be many more arrests. An employee at a California “expert network” firm was taken into custody before a scheduled trip to Taiwan on Sunday. Here’s the WSJ’s ongoing coverage of the arrest and what it means. Read here, here, here, here and here for LawBlog stories on what’s happened so far in the investigation.

    • Trading Inquiry Widens to Big Firms
      Federal authorities, intensifying an insider-trading investigation, are demanding trading and other information from some of the nation's most powerful investment firms.

      Hedge-fund giants SAC Capital Advisors and Citadel LLC, big mutual-fund company Janus Capital Group Inc. and Wellington Management Co., one of the nation's biggest institutional-investment firms, have received subpoenas from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office seeking trading, communications and other data as part of a broad criminal investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Madoff trustee seeks more than $8 bln from big banks
      The trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s investment empire is suing two of the world’s biggest banks to try to get more than $8 billion for victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

    • Securities Class Actions Mostly Punish Shareholders, Study Finds
      It’s a belief many law-school graduates cling to fiercely, in the face of all contrary evidence: That the tort system is a mechanism for discovering the truth, disciplining wrongdoers, and compensating victims for their losses.

      A new study in the Financial Analysts Journal casts serious doubt on the premise, at least when it comes to shareholder class actions. In most cases, the authors found, the litigation mainly serves to punish shareholders who have already suffered from a downturn in their stock. Only suits targeting illegal insider trading, and to a lesser extent, accounting fraud were associated with subsequent higher long-term returns.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • US Has Lost All Moral High Ground On Internet Censorship
      We've pointed out in the past the rather bizarre dichotomy of US politicians (including the President) speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, while at the very same time supporting policies that censor websites in the US. Of course, the US censorship isn't about political speech, but about copyright issues. However, that doesn't make it any less censorship.

    • Canadian Courts Set High Bar for Privacy Damage Awards
      When privacy violations occur, the first reaction for many victims is to search for a way to stop the offending conduct. The second response may be to invoke the law by filing a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Hundreds of complaints are filed every year and most are resolved with an explanation for what occurred, a change in corporate policy, or occasionally a formal apology. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that a growing number of complainants have been left unsatisfied with this outcome, however, and are turning to the courts for damage awards.

    • New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests
      Just in case new OMB director Peter R. Orszag needs any suggestions, the Sunlight Foundation -- a group dedicated to improving government transparency -- has several.

    • Are Hash Values Unique Digital Fingerprints?
      Suppose we're in trial circa 1999. We offer a key document marked as Defendants' 123. Our opponent looks it over. "Objection," she cries. "That document is not Defendants' 123; this is Defendants' 123." And then she produces a different document.

    • FTC Staff Calls for Do-Not-Track Option, Web Controls
      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission called for a do-not-track option for online browsing and pressed advertisers to make their data practices clearer for consumers, in staff recommendations on privacy.

    • FTC Suggests Do-Not-Track Privacy Setting for Web Use
      First came Do-Not-Call. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is focusing on Do-Not-Track.

      In a 79-page report issued today, the agency suggested a new framework for consumer privacy in the commercial world, including a way for people to choose whether to allow companies to collect data about their online searching and browsing.

      “Many of us on the Commission believe that it’s time for a Do-Not-Track mechanism with respect to third party ads,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a call with reporters. “A Do-Not-Track browser setting would serve as an easy, one-stop shop for consumers to express their choices, rather than on a company-by-company or industry-by-industry basis. Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and Apple have already experimented with this, by the way, as has a coalition of companies.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Sony Vaio PCG-F350 with Puppy Linux

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Credit: TinyOgg

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