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Links 17/6/2011: Linux Reputation in Security, Firefox 5 Previews



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Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Linux-ready keyboard PC's under an inch thick
    Cybernet announced a "zero footprint" computer built into a keyboard, featuring a dual-core Atom processor and a multi-touch trackpad. The Linux-ready ZPC-D45 is under one inch thick, but it provides features such as a CD/DVD drive, both VGA and HDMI outputs, stereo speakers, and dual Mini PCI Express slots, the company says.


  • Post-MacDefender, Linux Looks Better Than Ever
    Until recently, it was a commonly held belief in the mainstream computing world that Macs are more secure than Windows PCs are.


  • Alternate and Harmless Ways of Trying out Linux
    Whether you are a fanatic Windows user or another Apple fan boy hypnotized by Uncle Steve's charm, there is no excuse for you to not try Linux. Contrary to what you may believe, you don't have to go through all those complex command-line acrobatics in order to get a glimpse of the penguin. In fact, you don't even have to install that blasted thing on your computer. In this article, we'll show you how you can get a taste of the most-talked about operating system in town (yeah, we fanboys do tend to exaggerate sometimes), without the fear of crashing your computer.



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • KDEMU with Volker Krauseinator
      On this release of KDEMU! Pawly and I chat with Volker Krause and many other KDABians. Enjoy this beer filled episode.






  • Kernel Space



  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments



  • Distributions

    • 10 best Linux distros for 2011
      Hardware compatibility, ease of use, the size of a software repository. These three attributes are unique to each Linux distribution. But at the same time, each Linux distribution is at liberty to take and mix whatever it wants from any other.

      This creates a rather unique situation, where good ideas quickly spread, and bad ones fail. And as a result, there are dozens of distribution updates each month, hundreds each year, in a race to leap-frog each other in the race to the top of the DistroWatch.com charts.


    • New Releases

      • Minimalist Linux distro gains easier installation, NTFS compatibility
        Team Tiny Core announced a new version of its small-footprint, in-memory Linux desktop distro. Tiny Core 3.7 now allows read access to NTFS partititions, includes new icons for Editor and Run, and introduces "starter packs" that simplify downloading tools, among other enhancements.

        Tiny Core Linux is designed to reside in RAM, and can fit into just over 10MB, according to the project. Components that are said to reside entirely in memory include: the Linux kernel, the BusyBox tool collection, as well as minimal graphics based on Tiny X.




    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Inc. First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek
        The consensus estimate is the same as three months ago. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of 71 cents per share, a rise of 18.3% from last year.


      • Fedora

        • The Many Faces of Fedora
          Plus you can load your KDE desktop up with useful and fun widgets to enhance its functionality.


        • Opinion: On Canonical, Red Hat, and their communities
          When I can, I try to participate in The Linux Link Tech Show when it is streaming LIVE... but even when I can't I often listen to the archived recordings. When I find something interesting I'll sometimes shoot Dann Washko an email with my thoughts. This morning I found myself writing a long email to him on a subject they covered on their June 15 episode (#407). I thought I'd post it here too.

          It just so happens that several of TLLTS regulars had attended the Southeast Linuxfest the weekend prior and one of the conversations that Dann encountered there was about Canonical and Ubuntu. Dann spoke about the questions and opinions he heard raised and asked for everyone else's opinions but he didn't get a whole lot of feedback so I thought I'd provide him with some.






    • Debian Family



      • Derivatives



        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Why Gnome, Ubuntu and the like don't understand "usability"


            Lately there has been some uproar about the 'dumbing down of interfaces'..KDE4 didn't offer the settings 3 did, Gnome dumbs everything down, and maybe Apple did the same the last decade. I couldn't tell because I never touch anything Apple, and the only time I did the software crashed and all this dumbing down for the sake of usability! However in my opinion, they are wrong. They confuse 'usability' with 'approachability'. Which leads to software which many times is not user friendly.


          • Ubuntu ISOs To Finally Double As USB Images
            A small but useful feature for the CD ISOs of Fedora, openSUSE, MeeGo, and many other Linux distributions is that they are spun as hybrid ISOs. Hybrid ISOs allow the same CD ISO to be copied directly to a USB storage device (i.e. flash drive) without needing to rely upon any external utilities. Ubuntu ISOs have not supported this feature, but they do have their easy-to-use start-up disk creator to take care of this task. However, the daily ISOs for the Ubuntu Oneiric development cycle and all official Ubuntu CD releases going forward for i386 and x86_64 platforms will be now spun as hybrid ISOs.


          • Ubuntu Gets Some Love
            Raising Linux's visibility, generating excitement and creating name recognition are all among the ways Schroder believes Ubuntu has benefited Linux.

            Its most significant contribution of all, however, has been "building a true community infrastructure that provides a clear path for users to become contributors, and for newbies to get mentoring and support," wrote Schroder. "The lack of this is one of the biggest shortcomings of FOSS."

            Regardless of one's views about Ubuntu's latest particulars, "fostering a community and providing a space for noobs to learn and grow is a special skill set and a lot of work," she concluded. "But for Linux and FOSS to continue to grow it's the most important job of all, and Ubuntu and Canonical deserve credit for giving this a high priority."


          • Interview with Alan Bell
            1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.

            Hi, I am Alan Bell, a 36 year old geek from Surrey in the UK, where I live with my family and pet chickens. My day job is helping organisations to use and get value from Free Software. As for education, I pursued a degree in Computer Science at Nottingham University, but never quite caught the thing.

            2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?

            My first home computer was a ZX Spectrum +2 (the one with the built in tape drive) which I loved, especially the manual which taught me programming and trigonometry and calculus and electronic logic circuits. I was quite disappointed when I got a Commodore Amiga and there were no circuit diagrams in the manual. Now computers just come with an EULA which doesn’t teach you anything useful. Kids these days don’t know what they are missing! When I first encountered Linux it didn’t have a GUI and I wasn’t that impressed (but I did like the GPL from the moment I read that). It was some years later when X worked on Linux and graphical toolkits became available that it started looking interesting to me, but it took quite a lot of additional years before I started using Ubuntu full time.


          • Ubuntu 11.10 Development Update
            This week has been busy. Lots of bits and pieces are coming together in Oneiric and the status overview might give you an idea how each feature is progressing.

            If you look at the release schedule for Ubuntu 11.10 you can see that Oneiric is still in the development phase, where most of the heavy lifting is being done and where things are still broken.


          • Ubuntu...why are you so newsworthy this week....
            There are a bunch of different stories around one of our favorite Linux Distros this week. In the podcast we talked about Shuttleworth saying he is thinking about dropping Firefox for Chrome. As with most things like this we don't think it's a big deal because you can always just install Firefox after you have installed the machine.


          • Ubuntu...why are you so newsworthy this week....
            Ubuntu ISO images used to require the USB startup disk creator utility to be able to write the ISO image to USB (flash) sticks.


          • New requirements for Ubuntu Certification


          • 2 Reasons Why Google Should Buy Ubuntu
            In its apocalyptic battle with both Microsoft and Apple, there is one thing that both companies have that Google does not: a desktop OS. Chrome OS at best, is just a bridge OS. No matter how one looks at things today, there are hundreds of millions of machines out there powered by Windows or Mac OSX.



          • Review—Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal
            The latest and greatest version of Ubuntu, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, was released on 28th April 2011. Ubuntu is now the most popular desktop operating system, and with this release, Canonical has made some major changes—both up front, and under the hood. Read on to learn more.


          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Debian Edition Updates
              Since the release of the Linux Mint Debian Edition distribution last December, and then the Linux Mint Xfce distribution which is also based on Debian rather than Ubuntu, I have found myself moving more and more toward using these Debian-based distributions rather than the Ubuntu-based Mint 11. In a lot of ways these Mint distributions seem to offer a good combination of a solid Debian base, with a choice between the standard 2.6.32 kernel (which is in the current Debian stable distribution) and the latest 2.6.38 kernel (which is in the current Mint 11 distribution), plus all of the excellent Mint utilities (such as MintMenu and MintUpdate), and the excellent software, application and utility selection that are included on all of the Mint distributions. I can't put my finger on any specific thing that makes me prefer these Debian based distributions to the standard Mint 11, but it is a sort of general feel, consistency and reliability.


            • Bodhi Linux 1.1.0 : Ubuntu and Enlightenment based Promising Linux distribution
              Bodhi Linux is a relatively new GNU/Linux distribution being developed by Jeff Hoogland. I had read couple of reviews of Bodhi Linux earlier, but comment from the maintainer of Bodhi Linux in the review of MacPup 520 Linux ( you can read this review here ) , made me take notice of Bodhi Linux, and I decided to give Bodhi Linux a try.












  • Devices/Embedded



    • Phones



      • Android

        • Android phones get Starbucks payment app
          Starbucks has introduced an application that lets users pay for coffee and other treats from the java chain via their Android smartphones. Available free, the software works at nearly 9,000 locations, according to the company.










Free Software/Open Source



  • Of Open Source and Open Innovation
    I don't think Linus gets enough credit for helping to define (albeit unintentionally) the ideas behind open innovation a decade before books started appearing about it. In terms of achievement, it's arguably up there with the Linux kernel and Git.


  • Freedom DOES Matter
    The idea that FLOSS is irrelevant in licensing collapses under its own weight when the complexity of IT systems makes the valuation of licences impossible. VDI does that. It expands the problem that already existed with virtual machines on servers and compounds it. One does not need a licensing regime as complex as one’s IT system. FLOSS rationalizes the problem of accounting for licences by trumping complexity with four simple freedoms: use, openness, modification and copying. Use FLOSS.


  • Web Browsers



  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • And so the duplication of efforts begins
      Except over at LibreOffice, where one of our new contributors, Pierre-André Jacquod, worked on this earlier this year. This work is present already in our 3.4.


    • LibreOffice 3.3.3 Released for the Cautious
      Speaking of The Document Foundation, Italo Vignoli of the steering committee, today announced the release of LibreOffice 3.3.3. This latest release "fixes several bugs and improves the security of the suite, to specifically address the needs of corporate deployments, where stability is more important than new features."


    • Fork history does not favor OpenOffice.org
      The conversations about OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice these past few weeks have put forks on my mind lately.

      There are two long-standing opinions about forks in the FLOSS community: they weaken projects or they strengthen projects. There are interesting arguments on either side of the debate, but if history is any judge, there is a strong trend: the project that forked away from the mainline project tends to be the ultimate survivor.




  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Evergreen Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy
      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes the Evergreen project as its newest member. Evergreen joins twenty-six other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.




  • Openness/Sharing



  • Programming

    • ActiveState Expands Platform-as-a-Service Cloud Tech for Perl
      Tools vendor ActiveState is acquiring cloud startup Phenora which develops a Perl cloud platform. The Phenora platform will complement ActiveState's Stackato Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) effort which was announced in May.

      Among the many things that make Phenora an interesting company is the fact that is it run by its 15-year-old founder, Daniil Kulchenko, who is still in high school.


    • 11 Things I’ve Learned about Git






Leftovers



  • Science

    • China building world’s biggest radio telescope
      Using FAST's unparalleled sensitivity and high surveying speed, the project is expected to enable the surveying of neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way and other galaxies, the detection of new pulsars (both galactic and extragalactic), the search for the first shining stars, and of perhaps most interest to many people, the search for extraterrestrial life. It is expected to be able to detect transmissions from over 1,000 light years away.




  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sip, Spit, Grade: Coffee Experts Crown Colombia’s Best Beans
      It’s springtime in Colombia, and coffee experts from every part of the globe have convened in Santa Marta, a small city on the Caribbean coast. It is time to award the coffee industry’s most prestigious prize. The taste mavens make ready: Alberto Trujillo is deep into his pre-sip calisthenics, which consist of knee bends and alternating leg shakes. The Tijuanan has to prime his body, nose, and mouth for the so-called cupping that’s about to commence. As any java snob can tell you, to cup is to scrutinize the tastes and aromas of freshly brewed coffee. But Trujillo is no ordinary java snob, and what he’s girding for is no ordinary cupping. He has been certified by the Coffee Quality Institute as a licensed Q Grader, a person who can boast experience in everything from roast identification to sensory triangulation. And he’s about to serve as a judge in the annual Cup of Excellence competition.




  • Security



    • Does The Recent Rash of Cyber Attacks on High-Profile Institutions Tell Anybody ANYTHING???
      Let's take some inventory. The latest attack is against the IMF, the International Monetary Fund which acts as kind of an overseer of the industrial world's economic activity. They just got hit.

      As the article goes on to list, that's only the latest breech. There's Sony Playstation accounts (which I just mocked here), aerospace defense contractor Lockheed Martin's network, North American Citibank, an email database (Epsilon, an email marketing firm) related to BestBuy and Target, and an attack perpetrated through Gmail.




  • Cablegate

    • 40 Years After Leak, The Pentagon Papers Are Out
      In this Jan. 17 1973 file picture, Daniel Ellsberg speaks to reporters outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Ellsberg's co-defendant, Anthony Russo is at center right. Forty years after the explosive leak of the Pentagon Papers, a secret government study chronicling deception and misadventure in U.S. conduct of the Vietnam War, the report is coming out in its entirety on Monday, June 13, 2011. The 7,000-page report was the WikiLeaks disclosure of its time, a sensational breach of government confidentiality that shook Richard Nixon's presidency and prompted a Supreme Court fight that advanced press freedom.


    • Why the Pentagon Papers matter now
      The declassification and online release Monday of the full original version of the Pentagon Papers – the 7,000-page top secret Pentagon study of US decision-making in Vietnam 1945-67 – comes 40 years after I gave it to 19 newspapers and to Senator Mike Gravel (minus volumes on negotiations, which I had given only to the Senate foreign relations committee). Gravel entered what I had given him in the congressional record and later published nearly all of it with Beacon Press. Together with the newspaper coverage and a government printing office (GPO) edition that was heavily redacted but overlapped the Senator Gravel edition, most of the material has been available to the public and scholars since 1971. (The negotiation volumes were declassified some years ago; the Senate, if not the Pentagon, should have released them no later than the end of the war in 1975.)

      In other words, today's declassification of the whole study comes 36 to 40 years overdue. Yet, unfortunately, it happens to be peculiarly timely that this study gets attention and goes online just now. That's because we're mired again in wars – especially in Afghanistan – remarkably similar to the 30-year conflict in Vietnam, and we don't have comparable documentation and insider analysis to enlighten us on how we got here and where it's likely to go.


    • WikiLeaks spokesman: Guardian, NYT wanted to rush war logs
      Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson has savaged The Guardian and New York Times for attempting to rush the publication of WikiLeaks material, suggesting the issue contributed to the falling-out between the online whistleblower site and the doyens of the progressive mainstream media.

      The Guardian and The New York Times were the key English-language vehicles for the release of both the Iraq and Afghanistan “war logs” and the initial tranche of diplomatic cables WikiLeaks continues to release via over 50 outlets around the world. However, relations between the newspapers and WikiLeaks soured and both outlets and their senior staff have since launched stories highly critical of Julian Assange. The New York Times has also been revealed to have allowed the State Department to veto and censor WikiLeaks material.

      Hrafnsson told Crikey the relationship between WikiLeaks and the newspapers had been going sour from before the release of the Iraq War logs in October 2010. “[The Guardian] said they’d been promised exclusivity; Julian said, ‘no — that was only for the print media.’”


    • Return of the plumbers
      HENRY KISSINGER said he “must be stopped at all costs”. Richard Nixon was more blunt: “We got to get this son of a bitch.” And oh, how they tried, creating a team of operatives whose dirty tricks would eventually sink the president himself. But Daniel Ellsberg proved an elusive target, and anyway his work was already done. Forty years ago this week the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, the largest leak of classified documents in American history until WikiLeaks came along.

      Julian Assange’s outfit is Barack Obama’s problem, and though the current administration lacks the vindictiveness and criminality of the Nixon White House, it has pursued leakers with just as much vigour. After promising the most transparent administration in history, Mr Obama and his Justice Department have pressed criminal charges against five suspected leakers under the Espionage Act, more than all other administrations combined, including Nixon’s.


    • EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! The “Wikileaks Truck Driver” Clark Stoeckley – Creator of “Wikileaks Top Secret Mobile Collection Unit” – Artist, Activist, Entertainer and Wiki-Prankster
      Wikileaks-Movie.com is pleased to introduce Clark Stoeckley, driver of the world’s first Wikileaks Truck called the “WikiLeaks Top Secret Mobile Information Collection Unit” and member of the Anonymous Theater Art Group. As many have remarked, when it comes to the Wikileaks story, ”You just can’t make this s__t up!” The issues are serious but there is plenty of room and an important role for levity, art and theatrics.

      And now, just as we are watching new episodes of “The Lulz Boat” and taking in our daily dose of “JuiceMedia RapNews”, here comes Clark driving along in his thought provoking “WikiLeaks Top Secret Mobile Information Collection Unit” making the White House and U.S. Secret Service a little nervous.






  • Finance





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Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus (see Stuxnet context)



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