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Links 30/3/2011: OLPC Training and “Linux Today” Re-rectified





GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Ubuntu 10.10 Vs Windows 7 Vs Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
    Ubuntu is by far the fastest OS in our tests, until multi-tasking is brought into the picture, where it becomes a lot slower.


  • Mum's the Word at “Linux Today”
    There seems to be trouble in the works over at Linux Today, and everybody’s keeping damn quiet about it.

    The first hint that something was wrong came on Saturday when the site posted no new content. This seemed odd, but not too unusual since weekend postings are often slim on the site. But when usually busy Monday came and went with still no new posts, the “what’s-up-with-that” factor was raised. Things started to get back to normal on Tuesday, however, when new posts began showing-up on the site again, though the pickings were slim, only six posts on a day when normally there would be four times as many.

    I figured that the folks at Linux Today had just experienced some kind of hiccup in their operations or that maybe everyone took the weekend off to celebrate some sort of open source spring break. Then, yesterday at about 1 pm EDT, the site posted a rather cryptic article, Picking Ourselves Up, Dusting Ourselves Off, by Michael Hall, a former managing editor at both Linux Today and Linux Planet who’s been spending the last several years working “on other sites in Linux Today’s parent company.”


  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 158: The 2600hz Project


      The 2600hz Project is home to a collection of open-source telephony software that enables the use of the FreeSWITCH, Asterisk and YATE switching libraries.


    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 395


    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 6
      In this episode: Canonical and Gnome may benefit from some relationship counselling. GTK+ 3.2 will enable you to run Gnome apps through a web browser. The Debian Derivatives Exchange (DEX) project has launched and Firefox 4 is here. Share our discoveries, listen to our marketing slogans and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.






  • Kernel Space

    • When does Linux turn 20?


    • Kernel-Switcher .38 GCC


    • Kernel Log: Development of 2.6.39 under way, series 33 revived
      Among the additions for kernel version .39 are the Xen network backend, support for ipset, and the rudimentary Poulsbo graphics driver; the kernel hackers have now also completely eradicated the BKL. Greg Kroah-Hartman has taken up maintaining the series 33 kernel again because it is the basis of the real-time branch.


    • "A Clear Example Of Why DRM Has Been Problematic"


    • I am now a Linux Kernel Developer
      I have no idea if the patch will be accepted, or even noticed, but I've done it and now anyone who gets the compile error...


    • Some Distributions Still Live In A KMS-Less World
      One of the most commonly mentioned terms at Phoronix is KMS, as in kernel mode-setting, whereby the GPU mode-setting is done in kernel-space rather than user-space with an X.Org DDX driver. The major open-source drivers were quick to adopt KMS support in their DRM drivers since it allows for cool features like a cleaner boot process, faster and more reliable VT switching, more reliable suspend-and-resume, greater security by running the X Server as a normal user, the ability to have a Linux kernel panic message (like a Windows BSOD), and for new technologies like the Wayland Display Server to emerge. However, not all Linux distributions are yet on this KMS bandwagon.


    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland, Dumb Frame-Buffers & Embedded SoCs
        If you're not following the many Linux development mailing lists out there, the latest major discussion surrounding the Wayland Display Server that's spanned the Wayland, DRI/DRM, and Fbdev mailing lists has been about using Wayland on "dumb frame-buffers", KMS vs. fbdev, and DRM drivers on embedded SoCs.


      • Will H.264 VA-API / VDPAU Finally Come To Gallium3D?
        Generic video decoding is not new to Gallium3D or even to being worked on with Google's Summer of Code. Back in 2008 was the first attempts at Gallium3D video decoding when MPEG support in shaders and exposed by XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) was the target. It made progress with the Nouveau driver, but the work is not heavily used at this time.






  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments

    • The Collaboration Imperative
      People tend to attribute what happens around us in the world to intentions. We believe things happen for a reason. This is quite a strong human tendency already present in very young children. Put a 3 year old in front of a room where stones are moved around by some invisible means like magnets. Ask the kid what is going on and he or she will describe the events in the room in terms of "the blue stone wants to talk to the red one". We know stones usually don't really want a lot - so why does the child perceive such intentions? This phenomenon not only forms the base of early religions (attributing 'intentions' to weather, trees or growth of crops) but also results in making conflicts worse. Psychologists call it "the fundamental attribution error" and it is fundamental (hence the name) to our perception of the world.


    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Connect to the Internet in More Than 10 Clicks (BUG)
        (As requested by my audience, I wish to make a distinction in pointing out that my post is mistaken in thinking that the described features of KDE are a default. They are, contrarily, a BUG with my own installation. Nevertheless, I will hold the secondary method of connecting to the internet as something that can be revised and improved.)

        As KDE worked on the new Network Manager for version 4, they decided to make the interface more powerful and through the use of the network manager widget, more accessible to users. The interface is indeed powerful and full of features aimed at working out every corner of customization on a given network. Wireless or wired network, they both have their particulars when it comes to connecting to the internet.


      • Qt Compositor For Wayland Is Made
        If you head on over to the Nokia Labs Qt Blog there is a post about "multi-process Lighthouse", which is worth reading. It's written by Jørgen Lind about how up until now Qt has lacked a multi-process client/server solution, but now they are looking for the Wayland Display Server to fill this void. Jørgen and other Qt developers ended up writing "Qt Compositor", which is a Nokia Labs project for making Qt-based Wayland compositors.


      • The “bleeding edge” dilemma


      • KDE Commit Digest for 13 March


      • New Features in digiKam 2.0: Geolocation
        Geolocation is not a new feature, but in digiKam 2.0 it has been thoroughly reworked to streamline the process of geotagging photos. The new Geolocation interface (Image €» Geo-location) aggregates all geotagging tools in one place. The interface itself consists of three parts: the map pane contains a map and a toolbar with several navigation tools; below the map pane, there is a list of selected photos; the sidebar on the right displays the currently active section.


      • platform ho-ooooOOO!


      • Moving media players into the future, and Camp KDE


      • Introducing: Phonon 4.5.0
        After 2 months of development the Phonons are proud to present Phonon 4.5.0, the new and incredibly awesome version of our multimedia abstraction library for Qt and KDE.




    • GNOME Desktop

      • With Days Left, GNOME Shell Continues Advancing
        The release candidate of GNOME 3.0 is due out, and the final release is just days away (6 April), but the GNOME Shell continues to advance with just days to go. GNOME Shell 2.91.92 is now available with a number of improvements.


      • GNOME Shell 3.0 Nears Release
        It's only been a little over two weeks since the last developmental release, but a substantial list of bug reports have been closed. Several changes have occurred as well. Some of these include:

        * New network indicator for NetworkManager 0.9.

        * Multi monitor improvements

        -- Enable workspaces_only_on_primary so that workspace switching only affects the primary monitor -- In the overview, show windows for each monitor on that particular monitor -- Use new "pointer barriers" to trap the mouse cursor at hot screen corners -- Don't use a slideout for the workspace selector if it's at a monitor boundary

        * Greatly sped up search

        [...]


      • GNOME 3 live image release 0.2.0 is out
        This week release is version 0.2.0. It features GNOME 2.91.92, including :

        * soon to be released Network Manager 0.9 and new UI integrated in GNOME Shell and GNOME Control Center (be careful, it has still rough edges) * a11y support should be improved






  • Distributions

    • A New, Happy Pardus User!
      Pardus 2011 is not only beautiful; it's also effective. A new, happy Pardus user may be right now playing with her laptop and she may be learning about a totally new--and certainly safer--computing experience.


    • Slackware 13.37… I Couldn’t Wait


    • LWN Picks Up On Package Signing
      The author, Nathan Willis, contacted me earlier this week to ask some questions, and I feel his article provides a very comprehensive review of the core issues, including the problems with Arch’s devs refusing contributions in this area and stalemating Arch’s security improvements for years. I think it’s great that LWN is reporting to their subscribers so candidly and giving this issue much needed visibility.


    • Sabayon Five Oh!
      Sabayon. I’m unsure if it got the name after an infamous Italian dessert. Still, it’s “the most beautiful linux distro out there” as some people would say. That might be the case out of the box, but we all know that we can modify any distro to any extent and make it look any way we want. I’ll admit, I’ve always wanted to try Sabayon. This gentoo-based distro is one of the rare that is quite popular, and that I haven’t ever tasted. It currently ranks #6 on DistroWatch (last 6 months ranking), but for some weird reason, none of my friends are running it – I even have some linuxy friends that have never even heard of it (!). But maybe I just have strange friends. Anyway, Sabayon comes in 2 versions: G and K. Obviously, these are the first letters to their respective desktop environments. It also comes with Xfce, LXDE, and E17, but the first two are the most “important” editions of Sabayon. What’s interesting is that neither G or K can be burned to a CD, as the ISO is over 2 GB in size. I smell a lot of crapware. Do continue reading about this interesting distro.


    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.12 Gnome - Rushed out too early


        PCLinuxOS 2010.12 is not as good as the spring edition. There are just too many errors, most of which could have been solved by a more careful system validation. After all, few or almost none of these showed up in the last two releases I've tested, so it's nothing inherent in PCLinuxOS that is bad, it's the integration of parts done in a sloppy manner. A bodge work, if you like, which fits nicely with my username, Roger Bodger.

        At the end of the day, PCLinuxOS worked, but it was scarred. There's no benefit to its default scheduler, most people won't notice or care. The 32-bit only architecture is not a dealbreaker, but it projects a certain reputation. Multimedia problems are a sore spot. But the worst thing is the package manager. You can't really enjoy your Linux without it.

        I like PCLinuxOS and I hope it will break into the big league one day, but the Holiday release just shows how difficult this task is, without immense resources to check and double-check every little thing. Now, since PCLinuxOS is a rolling release, you can safely install an older edition and then upgrade it to the latest patch level, which is what I'd recommend. For me, PCLinuxOS 2010.12 Gnome is a missed opportunity.




    • Red Hat Family

      • Is CentOS Dieing?
        There's apprehension that Centos is probably not going to survive for long. The developer group is really too small and the method that they use to prepare and subsequently deploy Centos is too slow. Scientific Linux and OEL are infinitely superior in every way (paid developers, planned schedules, better communication, etc). IMO, Scientific Linux is no less stable, it's just that CentOS has gained the reputation for the earlier timely and good releases. And there's this inertia of change on the mindshare. However, the recent irregularity will definitely force a lot of CentOS user to move to Scientific Linux, and it's for good.


      • Is Scientific Linux 6 Right for You? The Review.
        Most of you will need no introduction to Scientific Linux, but, as it's sort of customary for a review to give a short overview before getting started I'll do just that. Scientific Linux is a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) much like the CentOS project, rebuilding the distribution from upstream source rpms and removing and replacing the branding that vendor has applied to the installer, slides, wallpapers and whereever else in the system. Scientific Linux is put together predominantly by CERN and Fermilabs with the help of "various other labs and universities around the world" as the web site puts it. It provides a common install base while also leaving space for site specific customizations and modifications to fit more specialist needs for the labs, but can of course also just be installed as is. It is fully compatible with RHEL, being essentially the same product, but makes a few minor but important tweaks and additions, in contrast to CentOS. Being based on EL but having the additional layer of QA of the Scientific Linux community should make for a very stable product indeed, but you might as well use it because in a way you have paid towards it with your taxes, as long as you live in Europe. After all, I believe these institutions are all government and EU funded. Now, if that isn't a good reason, finally we're getting something for our money.


      • Red Hat and Ubuntu pushing buttons in the community....
        Both Red Hat and Ubuntu have been in the press a lot lately because of changes they are making in their distribution. What everyone seems to forget with both companies are just that companies not communities. While they do a great job of being great community members, people will always complain about them. Here is what we gleaned from the posts I read:

        For Red Hat the change is just how the distribute the kernel itself. They are now shipping just a completely patched Kernel. This is instead of shipping a patch set for each and every bug release that was available. Who does it affect? The folks that want to look in the kernel. As far as we can tell that's it. We at Linuxinstall.net don't think that this is an issue for them and more just a reason for people to complain and wish things were better the old way.


      • Red Hat's Steady March to the Big Leagues
        The idea of an open source company pulling in a billion dollars in annual revenue probably would have been unimaginable a decade ago, but Red Hat has drawn close to that milestone -- and it's likely because of its commitment to Linux, not in spite of it. Red Hat's continually evolving use of Linux and open source makes it "a more reliable multi-product, multi-service company," observed Geek 2.0 blogger Steven Savage.


      • Red Hat Proves That Open Source Is Good for Business
        Critics of free and open source software are fond of making the argument that software must be locked up, patented and jealously guarded if it is to serve as the basis for a successful business. Well, Red Hat just refuted such claims in a big way this week with its fourth quarter earnings report, which blew away analysts' expectations and placed the company well on track for billion-dollar revenues in the upcoming year.
      • Founder of Lulu.com and co-founder of Red Hat speaks at Wake Forest University




    • Debian Family





  • Devices/Embedded

    • An introduction to Embedded Linux, BeagleBoard & its Linux kernel port
      Jon Masters takes a break from his usual kernel column format this month to introduce us to the world of embedded Linux with an overview of the BeagleBoard and its Linux kernel port…


    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dell Inspiron Duo Convertible welcomes Jolicloud
        The Dell Inspiron Duo is a netbook that can transform to a tablet and it uses the Dual Core processor. The screen is 10 inches with a resolution of 1366×768. It uses a capacitive touch display. The convertible feature was designed in a unique way so that it will not rely anymore on swivel that seems not too robust for many users.




    • OLPC

      • Over 900 Teachers to Get OLPC Training
        971 teachers from primary four to six, in all schools designated to receive laptops countrywide, will undergo an extensive training in using the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) computers.

        The second phase of the capacity building program kicked off yesterday in several primary schools in the Northern and Southern provinces.


      • African Union, OLPC laptop plan faces hurdles
        Although the African Union (AU) has sealed a deal with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project to buy XO laptops for distribution in African schools, the project still faces funding and organizational hurdles.








Free Software/Open Source



  • Free software, a form of escapism?


  • 5 things to consider when evaluating open source
    According to Kareem, following 5 factors must be considered when deciding whether or not to use open source software:

    1) Cost reduction 2) Speed of implementation 3) May not have a foundation to support future desired functionality 4) Code ownership may be a problem 5) May need to change systems to match the OSS application


  • Events



  • Web Browsers



  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



  • CMS

    • ING using Drupal
      You know when a piece of software is mature when it starts being adopted by financial services organizations. ING Financial Services recently moved a number of sites from Oracle Stellent to Drupal. Among these sites are http://ing.us, the main portal for their US market. The driver behind this migration was to move to a platform that was more dynamic and provided faster time to market.


    • Upstream release monitoring for Drupal modules.
      Today I added a couple examples to the Fedora wiki’s upstream release monitoring page that will allow maintainers to track new releases of Drupal modules. You can simply follow the template to add yours.

      The upstream release monitoring system is provided through the courtesy of long-time Fedora contributor Till Maas, whose cnucnu software informs participating maintainers by filing a bug when the upstream releases a new copy of their software. Although most if not all maintainers monitor feeds and mailing lists, the bug is a reminder of what’s left to do, and doesn’t require the maintainer to stop what they’re doing when they get an email or RSS notification. Instead, they can trust their bug list.




  • Business

    • Cutting the cost of innovation
      Open source software might be free to download, but it ends up costing as much as traditional software because of the complexities of supporting it, or inflexible licensing structures. Or so the argument goes.

      You would expect to hear this from Steve Ballmer, Larry Ellison or any of the other grand old men of proprietary software. It is more surprising when you hear such thoughts being aired by the head of corporate services at Canonical, the commercial operation behind Ubuntu-flavoured Linux.




  • BSD



  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 2010 Free Software Awards announced


      This year, it was given to Rob Savoye. Savoye is a long-time free software hacker, who has worked on GNU and other free software for over 20 years. He has contributed to dozens of projects including GCC, GDB, DejaGnu, Newlib, Libgloss, Cygwin, eCos, Expect, multiple major GNU/Linux distributions, and One Laptop Per Child. Savoye has led the effort to produce a free software Flash player, Gnash. This work has enabled free software users to avoid dependency on a pervasive piece of proprietary software. Rob is also CTO and founder of Open Media Now, a nonprofit dedicated to producing a freely licensed media infrastructure.


    • Fellowship interview with Dan Leinir
      Chris Woolfrey: Can you explain what GamingFreedom.org is, and it’s relationship with Gluon?

      Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen: GamingFreedom is a social network for makers and players of games, based on the concept that there are very few people who make games who don’t also play them. So, rather than view game distribution as a way of pushing a product to the users in order to make back the money that was invested, GamingFreedom views it as a social thing: you have an idea for a game, you build that game, and you distribute the game to some repository, which in our case is GamingFreedom.org. From there you can download the game and play it, and you can then provide feedback if you want; through ratings, commenting, even user submitted screenshots and other such things.




  • Government

    • Cost savings in The Netherlands: Now you see it, now you don't
      Interestingly, a headline from the Court of Audit’s own news excerpt is: “Ministries already use a lot of open source.”

      This report, too, doesn’t seem to be available, except for a summary in English.

      Headlines from outfits covering the story have read “Netherlands open source report says no savings can be made.” Discussion boards have chimed in stoking a conspiracy to cook numbers, government succumbing to Microsoft lobbying, and so on.

      My take: Much ado about nothing.

      First, I think we can agree The Netherlands has an issue with transparency, at least when it comes to handling this issue. But, beyond that I doubt there is any behind-the-scenes-lurking.

      When the Open Source Observatory wrote about the first report, they noted it was written by one person in the Ministry of Interior, and largely meant for an internal audience. Only after pressure from representatives in Parliament did the Ministry send over the report.

      Report, here, may even be the wrong word. Governments do a lot of internal prospecting via memos, briefs, etc. just like any other organization. Similar to the issues I brought up about the relationship between the US Congress and its Congressional Research Service, government needs some room to think on its own. Not every document amounts to an answer that should be translated into policy.

      It could be that in this case the Parliament caught wind of someone’s quick calculations and wanted to see the analysis without any word on how “official” the document was, the background of the writer, or the vetting process, if any, the report was put through. In all reality, it may be a “bad” report.




  • Licensing

    • Are Your Licenses Compliant?
      The moral of the story is this. Do not wait until the phone rings. Do not wait until the lawyers are sharpening their pencils. Make sure you are in good shape now. The costs -- monetary, health, and welfare -- are not worth it.

      For more on how you can get your hands around Open Source licensing, read my post from Day 1 of LinuxCon 2010 and visit the Linux Foundation for more details on their license programs.


    • HTC are still incredible ********s
      As has been discussed before, HTC have a somewhat "interesting" interpretation of the GPL that allows them to claim they don't need to provide source code until between 90 and 120 days after the release of binaries. It's probably noteworthy that the FSF (who, you know, wrote the license and all) disagree with this interpretation, as do the kernel copyright holders (who, you know, wrote the code that the license covers) I've talked to about it. Anyway, after a pile of screaming and shouting from all sides HTC have tended to release their source code in a timely manner. So things seemed better.






Leftovers



  • Security



  • DRM

    • Judge Spero Rules on Jurisdictional Discovery in SCEA v. Hotz
      The telephonic hearing in SCEA v. Hotz was yesterday, the one about how to handle jurisdictional discovery, and here's what Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero decided to do. Keep in mind, though, that this is still not the main event. This was about how to handle George Hotz's impounded devices, which is related to Sony's expressed need to do discovery to oppose Hotz's motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. So we're still in the buildup phase, where SCEA is fighting like the devil to find a way to pin Hotz to California's jurisidiction, which so far it has been unable to do. It's a split decision, you might say, with Hotz winning some and losing some and ditto for SCEA.




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • Copyrights

      • Paramount goes with no DRM bittorrent distribution
        I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news that Paramount will be releasing the Tunnel for free on bit torrent with no DRM of any kind!

        No matter what the film is like, Paramount and the guys behind the tunnel have basically won. A film which would have gone straight to DVD somewhere in a junk bin somewhere could just have been elevated to the most downloaded movie of May (maybe).










Clip of the Day



Bodhi Linux v1.0.0 Distro Review with Enlightment Desktop



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Credit: TinyOgg

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