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Links 4/10/2011: Next Ubuntu Imminent, OpenEMR 4.1





GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • How Linux is advancing astronomy
    Head into the professional world of astronomy, though, and Linux machines are ubiquitous. Speaking to science colleagues, fellow developers and reading this very magazine, it becomes clear that there are a wealth of options out there for avid stargazers and the same names and distros crop up again and again.


  • Flexibility of GNU/Linux
    I have often used GNU/Linux to examine systems for many reasons: hardware identification, testing, rescuing data from hard drives, and installation, of course. KNOPPIX is often used but SystemRescueCD is designed for the purpose and has a ton of great features such as chNTpass and memtest. Then there is CloneZilla which does efficient disc imaging to/from a device or a server and, with a server, multicasting. The world is “solution-rich” with GNU/Linux.


  • Open Source: Niche Markets, Linux and Microsoft
    If you are a Linux protagonist who has been around as long as, or longer than, I have, you have seen responses like these over and over as to why Linux distributions will never go mainstream on the PC desktop:

    * “Linux will always remain a niche platform because it does not have a native release of Adobe (Photoshop / Creative Suite / etcetera)!” * “Linux does not have Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office power users require Microsoft Office!” * “The web portal at (insert portal here) needs Internet Explorer. There is no native release of Internet Explorer for Linux, so no one will want to use Linux!” * “Program X does not have a Linux version or equivalent!” * Or other claims along the same lines …

    [...]

    To me this suggests that the Microsoft platform is the niche platform:

    * Do you “need” Adobe (Photoshop / Creative Suite / etcetera) for your job? Then you are a niche user. * Do you “need” Microsoft Office because you are a “power user”? Then you are a niche user. * Do you “need” access to an IE only web portal? Then you are a niche user. * Do you “need” to run Program X on your PC? Then you are a niche user.


  • Six ways to use Linux Live CDs in your business
    It was true for me up until a certain point. Things changed when Knoppix Live CD was released by Klaus Knopper in 2000.


  • Desktop

    • Gummersbach: 'Open source desktops much easier to manage'
      Easier management is one of the main reasons for the German city of Gummersbach to switch its almost 350 PCs to the open source operating system GNU/Linux, a move that began already four years ago. One of the IT administrators, Dirk Hennrichs: "Our Linux desktops need close to zero maintenance, making them light years easier to manage than their proprietary predecessor."

      Following the move to GNU/Linux, time spent on desktop maintenance was rationalised by one full time equivalent. Hennrichs: "Had the city stayed with the proprietary alternative, it would force us to increase the number of IT administrators."


    • Flashdrive Linux Saves the Day
      As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I never go anywhere without a bootable Linux flashdrive. The fact that Linux is so portable is one of my favorite things about it. I have at various times kept Fedora, Linux Mint, and Puppy on my flashdrive, but for the last couple months, my mobile distro of choice has been Knoppix.




  • Server

    • Mad Dog 21/21: Bier Or Hospice, That Persistent Thirst For Legacy
      It's possible--and I think likely--that IBM could not sustain either legacy business, and particularly the mainframe legacy portion, without the highly visible z/Linux offering. Unfortunately for IBM, a key technological capability that distinguished z/Linux from rivals in the form of non-z servers, is losing its advantage.


    • Linux on Mainframes - an IBM update
      IBM presented an update on Linux on its mainframe line of computers. It was refreshing to learn about the success Linux has been having outside of the realm of industry standard X86-based systems. Here’s a quick summary of the session.






  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs File-System For Old Computers?
      Recently I published benchmarks of Btrfs from a Serial ATA 3.0 SSD (the excellent OCZ Vertex 3 SSD) and those results were interesting, but most people aren't running 6Gb/s solid-state drives, so how does this next-generation file-system perform on the opposite end of the spectrum? In this article are EXT4 and Btrfs benchmarks from an old Core Duo notebook with a 5400RPM mobile hard drive.




  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments



    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE to Say Buh-Bye to Screensavers
        Developers are addressing a security "constraint" in KDE's screen-locking routine, which I guess some folks may welcome. But as a result, screensavers will be rendered inoperative. They hope to include a fallback in 4.8, but will remove that in 4.9. Martin Graesslin says they wish to replace the current engine with a "new solution" built using Qt Quick and they hope users will start to contribute new screensavers.




    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3′s Default Wallpaper – Ubuntu Style
        Whether or not you’re a fan of GNOME 3′s default ‘stripy blue’ wallpaper there’s no denying that it is striking.

        If you plan on using GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 11.10 (it’s just a click away) – or if you’ve made the ultimate sacrifice and have it installed it in 11.04 – the following Ubuntu-flavoured variant of GNOME’s default wallpaper can add some Ubuntu-flavoured purple warmth back to your desktop.


      • GNOME 3.x Revisted
        The last time I tried both of GNOME 3's official ISOs, things didn't go as planned. But the recently released 3.2 version deserved another chance, seeing its apparent slew of new features. I downloaded the 946 MBs of data, burnt it and booted from it. This time around, the live environment loaded up pretty quickly and with, I'm happy to report, 0 errors or hiccups. Yay! The "revolutionized" interface worked as expected and I was able to rapidly get to the "Live Install" button that was sitting boldly on top inside "Activities". Oh, the base for this GNOME 3 showcase is openSUSE. The installation process is quite easy to go through. As I chose to place the distro on my second HDD, I also wanted the bootloader to be installed on the same HDD, so as not to interfere with the primary drive arrangement. Sadly, and I tried several options, the bootloader wouldn't be correctly installed. I finally conceded and overwritten the main one.


      • Gnome 3.2 More Evolution than Revolution






  • Distributions

    • One Year of Rolling with Arch/Bang
      It's just a little over a year now that I first installed ArchBang with 2010.09 that had just been released. In comments to my following review a poster expressed the opinion it would be interesting to see how this would develop and if it would still be working in a year from then. So here we are. I've tweaked the install and kept it updated at my leisure, and it is still working fine. Over time the ArchBang base I started out with has turned into Arch Linux, as you would expect it to when pointing at Arch repositories.


    • A Review and Endorsement of Sabayon LXDE
      Before moving to Lubuntu, I briefly gave Sabayon Xfce a spin. It was interesting, but there was a little bit more of a learning curve than I was prepared to commit to at the time.

      But once I had my new machine working, I decided to try out Sabayon on the old one, a ThinkPad T43. Since I’ve fallen in love with LXDE as a desktop environment, I wanted to see Sabayon’s take on it. I liked it so much on the T43, I wound up installing it on the T420, my everyday laptop.


    • Re: Rethinking the Linux distribution
      Bundles are a great idea, actually, to solve the problem of 3rd party software developers (mostly proprietary) saying “I won’t develop for Linux because packaging for each distro is too much work”. But having a read only file system, and killing existing package management is just not the right solution. Making bundles the only way to install software destroys all advantages of a package management system.

      I assume (mainly because I saw some gnome designers oppose to package management) that this is going to be the way you install software in GNOME OS. Am I right? Well, I hope at least you’ll develop it as a freedesktop spec and not only in GNOME.


    • New Releases



      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 167
        €· Announced Distro: Tiny Core Linux 4.0 €· Announced Distro: DoudouLinux 1.1


      • Calculate Linux 11.9 released
        Calculate Linux 11.9 has been released. All of our distributions are available for download: Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Desktop with KDE (CLD), GNOME (CLDG) or XFCE (CLDX), Calculate Media Center (CMC), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS).




    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • They make Mageia: Samuel Verschelde
        I discovered linux during my studies, in 2003. It was exciting to discover a whole new world I didn’t know, having only used computers with Microsoft systems on them for many years. The first distribution I installed was Debian potatoe, and it probably wasn’t the best choice for a beginner not familiar with unix command line :) Then I used Red Hat for some time and finally settled to Mandrake in 2004.




    • Debian Family



      • Derivatives



        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Restores Xen, Adds Juju to Version 11.10


          • New Set of 14 Wallpapers for Ubuntu 11.10 is Perhaps the Best Collection Yet
            Every Ubuntu release cycle churns out fresh new collection of wallpapers. These wallpapers are carefully chosen from a huge cache of user contributed images in Ubuntu Artwork Flickr pool. Oneiric release cycle is no different. 14 gorgeous new wallpapers have arrived in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric already and they are by far the best I have seen in any new Ubuntu release.


          • How Ubuntu is built: the inside story
            Every six months we release a new version of Ubuntu. Each one brings together hundreds of developers, translators, testers and documentation writers to integrate the latest and greatest upstream applications, as well as new and innovative Ubuntu technologies.


          • Excited for Ubuntu Linux 11.10? The Official Countdown Has Begun
            Among the new additions in that second beta version are a new kernel, now based on version 3.0.4; an updated GNOME desktop (currently version 3.1.92 on the way to GNOME 3.2); and improved support for installing 32-bit library and application packages on 64-bit systems.


          • The countdown to Oneiric Ocelot begins, Ubuntu 11.10 arrives October 13th
            A whole new world? A whole new computer? Those are some pretty epic promises coming from the folks at Canonical, especially since we've seen the most recent beta and Ubuntu 11.10 and, while its packed with welcome improvements over Natty, it's not exactly revolutionary. Still, we're excited that on October 13th the final release of Oneiric Ocelot will be hitting the web with an improved Dash that integrates search Lenses, new default apps, a spiffed-up app switcher and application syncing across multiple devices. There are plenty of other little tweaks and improvements that add polish to the popular Linux distribution -- more than we could possibly cover without inspiring a string of TLDR comments. If you're the adventurous type you can download the second beta now, but we suggest you wait till the timer at the source link reaches zero. If you want to spread the Gospel of Ubuntu you'll also find a printable flyer at the source with a QR code and tear-off URL strips that lead to ThisIsTheCountdown.com.


          • The Best Indicator Applets for Ubuntu
            Earlier, many folks were unhappy about the dozens of applications that ate up valuable space on their system tray. Often, people would have overly crowded panels that would look ugly in most cases. To address this problem, Canonical came up with Indicator Applets. It was not only a huge step forward in usability; it was also the foundation of a more clean and uniform user interface.

            Unlike Windows, where you're clumsily right-clicking the tray, indicator applets allow you to interact with multiple applications at once without clicking more than twice. Now, if you take a look at the top panel, it looks much more uniform, with properly spaced icons and easy-to-navigate menus. As Canonical has released the API out in public, many developers have come up with some nifty indicator applets.


          • Interview with John Lenton
            In this continuing Ubuntu One interview series, Amber Graner talks to John Lenton, Senior Engineering Manager for Ubuntu One. Lenton give a little about his history with FOSS and how he found his way to Canonical. He addresses reader comments about the Ubuntu One proxy issue and gives users and developers links and information on how to participate in the Ubuntu One project and more.


          • Is the Ubuntu App Developer Portal a Game Changer?
            Canonical has recently announced the creation of the Ubuntu Developer Portal. The portal’s goal is fairly straight forward: it's basically been designed to get more mainstream developers creating software for Ubuntu.

            In this article, I'll look at the motivation, tools and resources that will be made available to those using the Ubuntu Developer Portal. I'll also look at whether this is an effort that is going to be a "game changer" for Ubuntu or merely a weak publicity stunt that backfires on everyone involved.


          • Seven Minutes in Ubuntu
            For a while now, I’ve been using my home machine with MAMP to develop a research prototype. But last week, I got my hands on a PC to use as a web server (thanks Andrea!). Before I could get started on it though, I needed an operating system to install — ideally one that would get the job done with minimal setup and training on my part. After a bit of reading online, I chose Ubuntu.


          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu Review: It Packs a Punch! (With Screenshots)
              Xubuntu 11.04 is a fast, stable operating system for older systems or systems that could use the performance boost. It is beautifully well put together and easy to use.


            • DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 425: Questions and Answers: A Look Behind The Curtain
              In the end of the day, money is only a metric to measure time and power and it doesn't measure it all. Sometimes we spend money on things we can get for free, because the time we don't spend in getting them is more valuable than the money itself. So how do we do? We can tackle any problem and pay for what we need. We can engage in expensive projects (we recently decided to mirror Debian for instance and we're now confident enough in our new servers to have all LMDE users point to them). We're almost ready to scale up, to hire, to rent offices, the financial aspect of this isn't the main issue anymore. Our biggest problem is to buy time. Because unlike everything else in the project that's been getting better and better since the start, finding the time to achieve what we have in mind has become harder and harder. Do you achieve twice as much when you've got twice as many developers? What are big companies and their large IT staff doing wrong to let small projects like ours challenge them? How do we manage to become more productive and to take on bigger projects? We don't need to worry about the money, the community removes that problem for us and allows us to focus on what really matters, finding the time that we need. This is the real challenge.


            • elementary OS 0.1 ‘Jupiter’ review
              elementary OS (another one that forgoes capital letters in it’s name) is a relatively new kid on the Linux block. It’s based on Ubuntu 10.10, and uses a customised version of the GNOME 2.32 desktop.

              On visiting the elementary OS website, one has to be impressed with the polish. I may admit to temporarily wondering if I’d accidently gone to Apple’s site instead. This being said, if the developers have taking this much care with their operating system as they have with the website, we could be looking at a good thing.

              Testing environment: Acer Aspire 3410 laptop, Intel Celeron ULV 1.2GHz processor, 3GB RAM, integrated Intel graphics.












  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ex-NASA Man Squeezes Cloud Onto USB Stick
      Set for an unveiling at next week’s OpenStack conference in Boston, this “cloud key” also includes Piston’s Linux-based PentOS.


    • 100 Greatest Gadgets
      That digital cameras, perfectly printed pages and email are now all as platitudinous, quotidian and meretricious as takeaway coffee is easy to take for granted and I certainly don’t expect credit for being an early adopter or some kind of wise prophet. I was also an early adopter of many disastrous failures. The Newton, the Microwriter AgendA, early, bulky and dreadful Sony electronic books, iRex iLiads weird tone-dialling devices – any number of freakish gadgets that were either before their time and technology or simply deluded and hopelessly hopeful were all grist to my crazy mill.


    • Phones



    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Kindle Fire: Take three tablets and call me in the morning
        Right now my boys, ages 5, 7 and 9 all have iPod Touches that have served them well despite having been many times lost, spilled on, and in one case very lightly driven over by a car. But the Touches, which also cost $199 as I recall, are getting old, their batteries recharged so many times to where they now barely last an hour. It’s time for something new, which in the eyes of my boys means something better.


      • Nokia readies Linux mobile OS for cheap smartphones
        Let's start gingerly, with Nokia. You'll recall the indignation when Nokia threw Symbian under the Windows Phone 7 bus and osborned its existing product line. Nokia dead-ended Symbian handsets, causing sales to plunge while everyone waited for the new MicroNokia smartphones.

        The company didn't stop there.

        It then presented Meego, the offspring of Intel's Moblin (as in Mobile Linux) and Nokia's own Maemo (also Linux-based), as their weapon of the future. This was their killer smartphone OS.

        But Nokia gave up on Meego. The result was a risky but greatly simplified product strategy: One OS, WP7, instead of three or four versions of Symbian, S40, S60, Symbian^3, and Meego. Such simplicity couldn't last.


      • Amazon Sells Kindle Fire at Low Profit Margin to Promote Online Merchandize Sales
        An IHS analysis reveals Amazon’s business model for its new Kindle Fire tablet, with the company willing to settle for a razor-thin margin on sales of devices and digital content in order to achieve the larger goal of promoting merchandize sales at its online store.

        A preliminary virtual estimate conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service places Kindle Fire’s bill of materials (BOM) cost at $191.65. With the addition of manufacturing expenses, the total cost to produce the Kindle Fire rises to $209.63.








Free Software/Open Source



  • The Road To Open Source Code Provenance
    Data digging company OpenLogic has rolled out a new version of OLEX Enterprise Edition, a code analysis and audit kit designed to "uncover the provenance" of code within open source projects. In light of comments made this week by the German IT security watchdog, open source security issues may be on more corporate radars at the moment if recent warnings by the ombudsman are to be heeded.


  • Fraunhofer FOKUS axes BerliOS open source portal
    On 31 December, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) is to close BerliOS (Berlin Open Source), its open source software (OSS) repository. According to an announcement made on Friday 30 September, the institute finds itself compelled to take this step as it has been unable to find a successor or to secure further funding.


  • Web Browsers



  • SaaS



  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle has a Sun spot
      Oracle’s nothing if tenacious, and they’ve ignored hardware earnings losses to take the recently acquired Sun hardware platform to its next level and renewal with the announcement of the T4 CPU UltraSparc family for its servers. Sun was always a maverick, and its Sparc and UltraSparc processors became the standard bearer for server-based RISC technology. Now it’s dragging Oracle down. Larry Ellison seems to have had a fixation over delivering the Full Meal Deal€® to its customers -- hardware, software, services, applications, and integration support. The idea has worked well for others, yet others haven’t publicly bruised so many on the way up.




  • CMS

    • Giving a Clunky Old CMS the WordPress Treatment
      When it became clear eMusic's old, custom-built content management system was becoming a drag on the company, the search was on for a replacement. WordPress offered an open source tool with a passionate developer community. The CMS switch worked out well for eMusic in the end, but it wasn't always easy. Here are some lessons learned in the process.




  • Project Releases



  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF 1.2 includes new spreadsheet standardisation
      An official announcement has yet to be made, but on a mailing list of the OASIS group, Chet Ensign, Director of Standards Development, announced that ODF 1.2 has been approved. ODF 1.2, Open Document Format for Office Applications, was last updated four years ago in Feb 2007 with the approval of ODF 1.1.






Leftovers

  • Apple is now Public Enemy No 1
    With all of the patent suits Apple is currently filing against its tab and smartphone competitors, the title is more than justified. But the following is a personal rant that I believe exemplifies what is wrong with Apple. [Rant warning]

    This may be a hypocritical title, considering that I am writing it on a MacBookPro, and I own an iPod touch and an iPad. Yet Apple products continue to produce the sort of anger that I used to reserve for Microsoft software. You know the kind, you love and hate your technology, you cannot live without it, but you know it’s wrong.

    The smartphone market is now mature enough that it allows choice beyond the iPhone, with several Android handsets giving Apple a run for its money in both cost and hardware specifications. I am yet to hear a bad word about the Samsung Galaxy S-II, and I’m still very happy with my HTC Desire Z. Android offers a number of features that are quite simply forbidden in Apple-land: multitasking, connectivity, contextual menus, flexibility and configurability (is that a word?). On the other hand, my iPod gives me an indication of the iPhone world, and I do not like what I see.


  • No One Uses 32-bit Anymore... Right?
    Judging by some of the discussions I've seen on the subject, some users aren't convinced there's a significant advantage. Where ever you land in the discussion, it appears you are not alone. A 44 to 56 split could almost be a statistical tie. Did you know it was still pretty much half and half? I expected lots more 64-bit users.


  • Windows Cold Call
    So nope, there really isn’t anything that my cold-caller from so far away can help with. But good luck to Microsoft, and even though I blow off the calls, good luck to the call-center minions too, and I hope their next job is better.


  • How ICT helps developing countries – some Kenya case-studies
    It’s the first time ever the IGF has been held in sub-Saharan Africa. And this gave me an opportunity to explore something that’s interested me for some time – the role of ICT in the developing world.


  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Inside the World's Largest Embassy
      In 2009, Peter Van Buren, a two-decade veteran of the Foreign Service, volunteered to go to Iraq. Drawn by "the nexus of honor, duty, terrorism, and my oldest daughter's college tuition," he signed on as the head of an embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, part of a "civilian surge" to rebuild the country and pave the way for the withdrawal of American combat troops. He'd joined the biggest nation-building exercise in history, a still-unfinished $63-billion effort that Van Buren compares to "past[ing] together feathers year after year, hoping for a duck." Van Buren's acerbic new memoir, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, recounts his two years as an official feather-paster in a country that's become an afterthought to most Americans.






  • Finance



  • Privacy



  • ACTA

    • Will ACTA Be Killed in the EU?
      Several of the “like-minded” States that negotiated the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will attend the signing ceremony this Saturday in Tokyo1. The European Parliament, which will have the final word, will now face its key responsibility towards European citizens: will it accept a text that forces new broadly applicable criminal sanctions, deeply impacting fundamental freedoms, innovation and competition? Will it seize the opportunity to reject once and for all a text that was negotiated outside democratic arenas?


    • Alert To Activists: Customs Enforcement of IPR
      A very worrying proposal called ”Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights” has arrived from the EU Commission, and will be handled by the European Parliament this autumn. It is an attempt to introduce by the Commission to expand enforcement of intellectual property rights in line with the ACTA agreement, before ACTA has even been signed. Some of the provisions even go beyond ACTA in scope.






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