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Links 26/10/2011: Linux 3.2 Kernel Plans, Linux 3.0.8 Out, New Kernel Announced

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  • Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?
    When I look into my technology crystal ball, I see people moving from desktops to smartphones and tablets. I’m not the only one who sees a post-PC world coming. What I didn’t expect was to find proof that desktop Windows was already a dead technology walking.

    Over at ZDNet’s sister site, CNet, they recently reported on 15-years of I expected this to be little more than a nice historical walk down a popular site’s past. Well, it is that, but it’s also contains lots of bad news for Windows users.

    You see, in 1996, when was founded, 89.5% of its downloads were Windows programs. Would you care to guess what the percentage of Windows downloads are in 2011? It’s a mere 28%.


    Today, 67.5% of’s downloads are mobile applications. Think about that. Even with Apple’s App Store and Android’s Market getting the vast majority of mobile downloads since they’re built into iPhones, iPads and Android devices, people are still downloading more than twice as many mobile apps than they are Windows programs from

  • Desktop

    • Cuba
      Besides the obvious impact of the US embargo on IT in Cuba, one can see that the government was acutely aware of this situation when they decided to move everything to FLOSS. This year, all PCs made at the Chinese-Cuban factory in Cuba will have both that other OS and Nova GNU/Linux. The desktop monopoly is dying quickly in Cuba although access to computers is still severely restricted by economics. If there ever was a country that needs GNU/Linux and thin clients, Cuba is it.

    • Shopping in Romania
      I found a link to a retail establishment in Romania. The score:

      * PCs with that other OS: 136 * PCs with GNU/Linux: 42 * PCs with FreeDOS: 140 * PCs with MacOS: 6

      You can argue that with such a high proportion of FreeDOS that many intend to buy those machines to install a copy of that other OS illegally but schools and businesses often install by copying legally and we know only a very small proportion of humanity has the inclination to install an OS so I am betting the distribution of the FreeDOS machines is something like the split between that other OS and GNU/Linux, about 3:1. According to, linux:windows was 2:3 in 2004 and 1:9 in 2011. I guess it pays to advertise.

  • Server

    • Riverbed lets loose Stingray virty appliances
      After dabbling with hardware appliances a few years back, Zeus went all-virtual, shipping Traffic Manager in an x86-based VM container that could ride atop ESXi, Xen, Hyper-V, and KVM hypervisors. One change with the Stingray Traffic Manager 8.0 release is that Riverbed is allowing customers to install the tool on a bare-metal Linux server instead of a virtual machine, allowing it to eat all the capacity on an x86 server if that is what customers want. Note: If you want to run Traffic Manager on Hyper-V, you have to run it atop a Linux guest OS.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • The Staging Merge For Linux 3.2 Kernel Is Huge
      Linus Torvalds was worried that the Linux 3.2 kernel might be of a worrying size due to the belated release of Linux 3.1. Merge requests are now starting to come in for the Linux 3.2 kernel and the staging merge alone touches several hundred thousand lines of code.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in the "big staging merge for 3.2" this morning to Linus. Greg writes, "there's a lot of patches in here, and the overall diff is quite impressive." There's some 103,718 lines of new code, but there is 230,262 lines of code that were removed from the tree. So while there is still lots of new code, it's actually a net decrease in the total number of lines of code.

    • Linux 3.0.8

    • Download Linux Kernel 3.1 Now!

    • Linux Foundation announces long-term support kernel tree for CE vendors

    • New Linux Kernel Tree For Consumer Electronics Announced
      The new project, the Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI), provides for both an annual release of a Linux kernel suitable for supporting the lifespan of consumer electronics products and regular updates of those releases for two years.

    • Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes
      The Linux Foundation is rocking out in Prague this week and they’ve got some interesting news to share. In addition to adding five new European members and the one year anniversary of the Foundation’s Yocto Project, they’re announcing their “Long Term Support Initiative” to foster a stable kernel release suitable for use in consumer electronic devices. It aims to provide “both an annual release of a Linux kernel suitable for supporting the lifespan of consumer electronics products and regular updates of those releases for two years.” The list of companies involved in the LTSI is a list of household CE names: Hitachi, LG Electronics, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sony, Toshiba.

    • Graphics Stack

      • UDS-P: Automated Testing, Benchmarking, Wayland
        There's less than a week until the Ubuntu Developer Summit begins for Ubuntu 12.04 (codenamed the Precise Pangolin). The schedule for the event in Orlando, Florida is beginning to get filled up so here's some of what you can expect to see discussed for this next Ubuntu release due out in April.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KWin meets QML
        Two years ago I started to re-implement the Window Switching capabilities of the KDE Plasma workspaces (also known as Alt+Tab or TabBox). The old implementation was based on a QWidget with custom painting which of course had some drawbacks. The new TabBox evolved into a framework around Qt’s Model-View concept to design your own window switcher.

        Before I started to work on that area I did evaluate the existing Window Switching capabilities of the various desktop shells (both free software and proprietary solutions) and I noticed that all of them have drawbacks. None is the solution where I would say: that’s the perfect switcher.

      • My talk about 15 years of KDE at Latinoware
        It was a great pleasure to participate in the Latinoware presenting a talk on the anniversary of KDE! That was my first time in Latinoware and started with a great responsibility to talk about the history of our community. This was the fourth Forum of KDE Brazil at Latinoware and we had a special program during the event, plus a stand where we can sell our promotional materials and give information about KDE for visitors.

      • KDE 4: Leader of the Semantic Pack
        Semantic computing is the future of computing, and KDE4 has the only working implementation of a semantic desktop. If you want an example of where Linux and FOSS are taking the lead, this is a great one.

      • Qt DevDays Munich: Talking To The Trolls
        With co-located events in the German city of Munich this October and a subsequent U.S. event to be held in San Francisco in early November, the company that was Trolltech (which then became Nokia Qt) held its DevDays event to a focused and enthused audience.

        Mario Argenti, SVP of Nokia developer experience and market, kicked off the proceedings and alluded to a turbulent last 12 months during which time the company has witnessed much change in both itself and in the industry at large. The last year has of course seen the addition of the Qt Quick (Qt User Interface Creation Kit), a high-level user interface technology for UI designers and developers with scripting language skills.

      • Plasma Active on NVidia Tegra 2
        In a cooperative effort, the Mer team and the basysKom integrators have succeeded in booting a Plasma Active image on NVidia Tegra 2 devices, opening the door bringing Plasma Active to a wider range of hardware. The image is based on Mer, a successor to the MeeGo operating system.

        The Plasma Active, Mer and basysKom teams have been working together on this new hardware platform, with the project led by Martin Brook (vgrade on IRC). Last weekend, they successfully booted a non-optimized version of Plasma Active on two devices powered by NVidia's Tegra 2 (TAB-TEG-10-1-4GB-3G, Advent Vega). Tegra 2 is a powerful platform for mobile hardware, featuring a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and Ultra Low Power (ULP) GeForce GPU with 8-core GeForce GPU with 4 cores dedicated to running pixel shaders and 4 cores dedicated to running vertex shaders. The powerful, yet energy-efficient graphics make it very interesting hardware for running Plasma Active.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 16th October 2011

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Power to the people
        The design of the configuration options was actually resolved last cycle. The status part of the design remained unfinished, however. That power status part was the tricky bit, since it had to represent power information for both the actual device which GNOME is running on and any connected devices which might have their own power status. Last week, after many iterations, I finally came up with what seems to be a nice solution.

      • Five Pretty Awesome GNOME Shell Themes
        One of the great things about GNOME Shell is that it’s comprehensibly themeable – from the top panel and applet menus to the awesome on-screen keyboard.

      • 4 Beautiful GNOME 3.2 Themes
        Evolve is a new, simplistic GNOME 3 theme created by the Ambiance Blue author. The theme is compatible with the latest GTK 3.2 and uses the Adwaita engine for the GTK3 theme and Murrine for the GTK2 theme:

      • What People Are Saying About GNOME [Part 1]
        Due to the plethora of data being collected, the comments provided by these desktop users is going to be put out a chunk at a time, as it's unlikely by the time the survey ends towards late November you'll want to sit down and read what will likely be 10,000+ comments about the GNOME desktop. So to begin in a more manageable way, coming out today are the first thousand comments collected from this 2011 GNOME survey (for anyone that requests it, at the end will also be a PDF with all of the comments). These are just the responses to the "If you could change three things in GNOME, what would they be?" and "Do you have any comments or suggestions for the GNOME team?" questions. Any submission where the response was only a single word (e.g. just saying Scheiße) was ignored from printing. If you haven't already done so, be sure to participate in the 2011 GNOME User Survey.

      • Linux Desktop Faceoff: GNOME 3 vs Ubuntu Unity
        The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu recently finalized its move to the new Unity interface, while other Linux distributions are moving to the new GNOME 3 shell. Both interfaces are remarkably different than the Linux environments you're used to, but remarkably similar to one another. So which one is better for you? We delve down and uncover the differences between each.

      • Evolve is a Lightweight and Minimal GTK3 Theme, Supports Unity
        Evolve is a lightweight and minimal GTK3 theme by Satya and is based on Adwaita theme engine. The theme works well with Gnome Shell 3.2 as well latest Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 as it comes with support for its own custom window controls for maximized windows.

  • Distributions

    • If Linux was a car (Hater’s edition)
      To start off, there are literally hundreds of different kinds of cars, and they’re all different. How do car makers expect a non-expert to be able to select one? Most manufacturers even make different “models” of their car, so it’s not enough to just say you want a Ford, now you have to decide which Ford you want. I don’t know ahead of time whether I’m going to want to move furniture, go off-roading or cruise the Autobahn, why should I have to pick one? Why can’t they just make one car that does everything?

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

      • Adventures with Sabayon Linux
        Despite having issues using Sabayon Linux on a USB stick with persistent storage (unable to install packages), I was so impressed by its speed that I decided to go ahead and install it. Surprisingly I have found that most of the software I use is already included, including Gnome Tweak Tool. So far I have just had to make a few adjustments:

        * Banshee for my music player * SMPlayer for my movie player * Gnome Shell extensions * Parcellite clipboard manager since the GPaste extension is not readily available (more on this later) * Htop process manager

        That’s all I can think of.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • State of Debian GNU/Linux

        I think this example shows the strength of Debian GNU/Linux. Even though the next release is many months away and there are more than 1K bugs known, the system is still usable. I will stick with Squeeze in production systems but in the virtual world, Wheezy is taking shape quite nicely. This whole process took only an hour including downloading 1200 packages. It was quite easy with no critical decisions on my part except to read some notes and accept defaults.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is the popularity of GNU/Linux actually decreasing??
            Ubuntu 11.10 has been released and with the way things seem to be going we can start expecting 200 million Ubuntu users in 4 years. Still, Is all this just an illusion? Like they say. "Its way too good to be true", Is the popularity of Linux in reality actually decreasing?

          • Ubuntu 11.10: A Review of the Oneiric Ocelot
            As always, this release was given its codename by Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder. ‘Oneiric’ means ‘dreamy’ and in his blog, Shuttleworth writes at length about choosing a suitable alliterative adjective to describe the ocelot, a small wild leopard. He even quotes from T S Eliot’s famous poem on ‘The Naming of Cats’. He finally settles on ‘Oneiric Ocelot’ because it seems to capture how innovation happens — ‘part daydream, part discipline’. This release is cosmetically pleasing, and gives developers even more options to create efficient interfaces that are aesthetically delightful also.

          • Is This The New Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Icon Theme?
            Canonical announced a while back that a new icon theme will be created for Ubuntu, but they didn't give any further details. An user has posted on a Brazilian Ubuntu forum a link to a company called Yellowicon that has some cool Ubuntu icons in its portfolio. The page doesn't mention if these are the new official Ubuntu icons or not, but Canonical shows up on the Yellowicon clients list.

          • Judging Ubuntu: Failures and Successes
            October 20th marked the seventh anniversary of the Ubuntu distribution. Anniversaries are times for reflection, so I've been thinking of how Ubuntu has succeeded and how it has failed in the last seven years.

            To hear those involved with Ubuntu, the distro's history consists of nothing but triumph. Community manager Jono Bacon marked the anniversary with a blog entry full of nothing except praise and enthusiasm.

            Founder and dictator Mark Shuttleworth did not refer specifically to the occasion, but he did blog that Ubuntu "is the #1 OS for cloud computing," and that the next release "will be the preferred desktop for many of the world’s biggest Linux desktop deployments."

          • Is This the World We Created?
            Ubuntu (the project) is collaborative. We all make it what it is. Many of you know that, but I still encounter people on a daily basis both online and off who have not realized this (yet). I often hear gripes about Ubuntu not being this or that, but I don't hear enough constructive discussion and "creation" of the Ubuntu we want.

            Let's change that. Ubuntu is what we make it. Do you want to live in a world where you have no say in your technology? (Redmond and Cupertino come to mind. I've been to both, and they're *not* fun.)

          • Ubuntu 11.10 review
            Canonical releases a new Ubuntu distribution every six months, each one coming with an alliterative zoological codename and a version number that reflects the year and month of release. The last update – Ubuntu 11.04, released in April and dubbed the Natty Narwhal – ditched the familiar Gnome desktop in favour of Canonical’s own Unity interface, previously seen only on netbooks. It was a controversial decision, but one that undeniably gave the friendly Linux distribution a character of its own.

            This new edition, dubbed the Oneiric Ocelot (it means “dreamy”), is much less adventurous. It brings no new features to speak of, just a clutch of interface refinements, more like a service pack than a new version

          • Ubuntu 11.10 laptop test drive
            I recently received a “review” Dell Vostros laptop from Canonical with Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) installed. The idea was that I, as an illustrious member of the tech press, could see for myself how smoothly the Ubuntu Unity desktop operates. And, it worked!

            I quickly figured out the Unity interface and installed Chrome as my browser, installed VLC Media Player, logged into my Hulu account and watched some of my shows, (which I mostly listen to) while simultaneously monitoring Facebook, Gmail, and reading various news sites. It worked well, had a little bit of lag, but nothing overwhelming, and I knew I was asking it to do a lot. The Ubuntu Software Center (now on version 5) was my favorite part. It was as easy as the marketplace on my Droid to just find the software I wanted to install and get it done.

          • United for Unity alternatives
            I love Brussels sprouts, and I’m blessed with the ability to eat fields of them in one sitting. Some people hate them to the point of legislating against them.

            Some people crave eggplant. I would rather eat dirt and will only eat eggplant at gunpoint, which of course makes for some interesting dinners at my household. But I digress . . . .

            Having said this, allow me a Captain Obvious moment to say that folks have different tastes, likes and dislikes, which in the final analysis boils down to a subjective smorgasbord of opinion rather than any resemblance to objective fist-bearing, knuckle-bashing fact.

          • Faenza 1.1 Adds Many New Icons, Better Integrated With Ubuntu Unity
            Faenza Icons Theme is kind of an household name among Linux folks. It definitely is one of the best looking icon themes for Ubuntu. Faenza Icons Theme 1.1 brings in a number of new brilliant looking icons and is also better integrated with Ubuntu Oneiric's new Unity UI.

          • Ubuntu members come from Europe and US and want more representation
            Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has released the results of the survey among Ubuntu members that he launched in early October. According to the survey, almost half of the contributors who officially work on the development and translation of Ubuntu, or provide support and community support, live in Europe. A further third live in the US, followed by South America.

          • Canonical Bringing New Digital Media Offerings to Ubuntu

          • Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes
            Ubuntu is a popular Linux with users, but it hasn’t made as many in-roads in the business market as it would like. To address that Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, CEO Jane Silber has announced a major company reorganization.

            Silber wrote, “Canonical has grown dramatically over the last several years. This growth is driven by increasing demand for our services and products by end users, businesses and partners, and by investment to deliver our part of the future of free software. As Ubuntu’s position in the marketplace and as the leading free software platform has matured, we have needed change the way we align our teams internally. The purpose of these changes is to ensure greater efficiency for us, for the customers we serve and for the partners with whom we go to market.”

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Puppy Linux 5.3 "Slacko" based on Slackware 13.37
              The Puppy Linux developers have announced the release of version 5.3 of their independent Linux distribution, a new edition code-named "Slacko". According to Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler, Slacko Puppy (coordinated by Mick Amadio) is to be the project's "new flagship Puppy Linux" and is the recommended "'first stop' for all newcomers".

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 60 New Open Source Apps You've (Probably) Never Heard Of
    As open source software continues to grow in popularity, particularly with enterprises, the number of new open source projects started each year continues to climb. By some estimates the amount of open source code available nearly doubles every year.

  • Open Source: You Know, For Kids!
    A few years ago, when I was working as a print magazine editor, a young girl approached my booth at LinuxFest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington. She was probably 12- or 13-years old, and she gave me some of the best feedback I'd ever had on our products.

  • GitHub open sources Hubot chat robot
    GitHub has released Hubot, the company's chat room robot, as open source. The developers at the project hosting service say that the first version of the Hubot was used to help automate their company chat. However, over the past year it got "bigger and messier", so the team "decided to rewrite him from scratch, open source him, and share him with everyone".

  • Credit Union Australia goes open source for web site
    Credit Union Australia (CUA) has outsourced the development and hosting of its new web site to open source specialists Squiz in the first of a series of initiatives aimed at achieving a more agile approach to IT.

    Under the multi-year deal, Squiz will host the credit union's online banking web site and provide 24x7 monitoring and support.

    Newly-appointed credit union CIO, David Gee, told iTnews that the hosting deal with Squiz is the organisation's first step into appealing to a new customer segment and lowering IT costs.

  • An Open Source Approach to IT Automation
    An open source tool for automating the management of IT systems that is fairly well known in Europe is now coming to the U.S.

    CFEngine today announced that in addition to releasing a version 3.0 upgrade, called CFEngine 3 Nova, that adds native support for Windows systems alongside Linux and UNIX, the company is moving its headquarters to Palo Alto, Calif.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 15 is out with a bunch of new features
        The world’s fastest growing browser, Google Chrome has just been updated to version 15. The most conspicuous change in this update is the redesigned New Tab page which we covered while it was in beta. Also coinciding with this release is the launch of a completely overhauled Web store which looks quite similar to the new Android marketplace. Here’s more about the changes in detail.

      • Google explains overhaul to Chrome Web Store
        Google has explained the process behind the redesign of its Chrome Web Store, hoping the changes make it easier to download the latest apps to your browser.

        The Chrome Web Store is a key part of Google's strategy going forward, and vital to the success of its Chromebook project.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • Neo Launches NoSQL Graph Database
      NoSQL type databases have become increasingly popular over the last several years as a way to deliver better scalability and performance. There are a number of different types of NoSQL databases, including a graph database structure, which is what open source startup Neo Technology is all about.

      Neo Technology is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open source Neo4j NoSQL database. This week the company is launching its Spring Data Neo4j 2.0 release, bringing the database to the popular Spring Java framework. The company has also just completed raising $10.6 million in Series A funding.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Offers NoSQL Database For Big Data Push
      Oracle continues its big data push after making its NoSQL database available for download

    • Oracle v. Google - Google Loses Lindholm Email Battle
      While the email included at least one attorney among its email addressees, the content of the email itself was addressed to a non-attorney. The email doesn't address itself to legal advice and it never mentions the threat of or actual litigation.

      So now Google will have to face this email as it is presented into evidence. The email by itself is likely not conclusive of willful infringement, but it will open the avenue for Oracle to explore just how early Google may have anticipated either a patent or copyright issue with respect to Java. Of course, whether willfulness ever comes into play is subject to underlying proof of actual infringement, but the existence of this email certainly makes the path a bit bumpy if Oracle is able to prove infringement.

      Google also filed a supplemental brief in support of its motion to strike portions of the Cockburn damages report. (549 [PDF; Text]). Unfortunately, so much of the brief has been redacted it is difficult to really appreciate the full support that may exist for Google's arguments. However, Google does make some cogent arguments.

  • CMS

    • Alfresco expands APAC footprint
      Open source ECM company Alfresco has announced an increased drive into the Asia-Pacific marketplace with increased local staff numbers on the back of 13 new customers in the past 12 months.

      Alfresco has also appointed three new partners and moved to new premises in North Ryde. The company claims revenue growth is ahead of industry averages with global headcount increasing 20% in the second quarter and more than 2000 enterprise customers in over 40 countries.

      Barry Costin, Sales Director for Alfresco APAC, said, “Working with business partners is still our primary route to market and recruiting new partners to provide geographic coverage and address specific vertical requirements in Australia and New Zealand is a big focus.

  • Education

    • New computers, new mindset
      They were part of the launch of "TexOS, the Texas Open Source Project," a two-man nonprofit operation that hopes to provide not only a computer to a needy child but also a whole new mindset.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.2 review
      My usual testing laptop is currently tied up with another distro, so I shall be using a 10-year-old Tiny desktop for this review. Intel Pentium 4 2GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 20GB HDD, nVidia GeForce FX5200 graphics.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming


  • Security

    • Cryptoboffin: Secure boot a boon for spooks' spyware
      as warned that the latest so-called Trusted Computing proposals may restrict the market for anti-virus and security software.

      Cambridge University Professor Ross Anderson warns that the secure boot features in the UEFI firmware specification - understood to be required on certified Windows 8 machines - might even make it easier to smuggle state-sponsored trojans onto victims' machines.

  • Finance

    • What Would Happen if Goldman Sachs Disappeared?
      Do we really? If Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Lyonnais and five or six of their peers ceased to exist tonight, what would happen? Would their absence change the number of factories, hospitals, farms, biotech research labs, oil wells, or gold mines? Would there be fewer houses or cars? Would computers get slower or TVs lower-def? No. The world of tomorrow morning would have exactly the same amount of real wealth and productive capacity as it does today. The main thing it wouldn’t have is a lot of arcane financial instruments that don’t produce anything edible, and a hundred thousand or so bankers making inordinate amounts of money moving this paper around. To the extent that those bankers would have to take jobs making real things, the post-Goldman world would arguably be richer and more productive.

    • Goldman Sachs v. Occupy Wall Street: A Greg Palast Investigation

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Democrats Allege Governor Walker Used Taxpayer Dollars for Campaign Website
      With Walker facing an "imminent recall," the website consists of "propaganda" and "cherry-picked facts" designed to help Walker's reelection, said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate on a Tuesday conference call. Tate says the law is clear "that state resources are not to be used for political gain."

      He alleged the site bears a strong resemblance to Walker's campaign website, and seems to echo a call by Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Brad Courtney to spin the "successes" of Walker's budget repairs.

      Tate also criticized Walker for apparently hiring a new employee to build the website and promote Walker's policies. "Walker has cut 1,032 jobs, but added a new position in his office," he said, "hiring a former newscaster tasked with documenting the successes of Walker's policies." On October 1, Walker announced the hiring of veteran television newscaster Julie Lund as Deputy Communications Director. Visitors to the "Reforms and Results" website are asked to contact Lund if they "have a story to share about how the Governor's reforms are getting results."

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