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Links 19/04/2009: A Lot from Android, Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • First look: Kogan Agora

    The Australian-owned Kogan Agora is among the first netbook on the market that comes out of the box with gOS, an Ubuntu-based Linux operating system that has the look and feel of Mac OS X. You get a dock, a set of freely movable widgets, and even windows that resemble Mac OS X.

    It would be safe to say that out of all of the netbooks out there running Linux, the Agora easily has the best Linux installation yet. gOS is more user-friendly and looks better than any other version of Linux we have seen.

    gOS is fast, too. Very fast. This is an excellent candidate for surfing the web, checking email, and writing documents with the keyboard and mouse easily rating among the best in the netbook-class. We expect that while there aren’t as many programs available for Linux, users will still be able to get full use out of comparable applications such as Gimp, OpenOffice, and Wine which lets you run Windows programs under gOS.

  • Do operating systems still matter?

    This shift creates opportunity for open source, and particularly for OpenSolaris. Performance, scalability, security, etc. have never been an issue for Solaris, and neither has innovation (I often say that Solaris has innovated more than any other OS in the past five years which even in Linux circles is usually met with grudging agreement). The problem has been developer familiarity—in a world where developers know Linux, will they take the time to learn Solaris, no matter how much better or more innovative its features are? That was the impetus behind Project Indiana—lowering barriers to adoption for Solaris technologies like ZFS and DTrace. The cloud potentially lowers barriers to adoption even further: If you’re a Java or PHP developer, and DTrace is just a feature of the Java or PHP stack, fully integrated with the tools you use to build your applications—i.e., you don’t have to learn Solaris or even know it’s there to take advantage of DTrace—you’d probably consider that compelling, wouldn’t you? The OS is still there, and it still matters, but it plays a very different role.

  • Dumping Windows for Ubuntu

    After playing around with Ubuntu for a week, and noticing further deteriorations (either that, or I was just not in the mood for being sympathetic with Windows) I decided that it was time for another wipe all, reinstall all session, only this time, I decided that I wasn’t going to reinstall Windows at all, I was going to have a Ubuntu only machine.

  • Open source software – has its time come?

    If you ask Tom Watson, the UK’s minister for digital engagement, the answer would be a resounding yes. Recently he issued a rallying cry for government to adopt open source technology in far greater volumes than it has in the past (and this is despite the fact that 35% of NHS organisations already use Linux in the backbone).

  • ETC Urges New Approach for Open Source Voting

    What remains to be seen is how long the government can hold out against the benefits of open source. TMC (News – Alert) recently reported that even the military is now considering a Linux-based operating system as a money saving option when compared to current costly proprietary OS’s.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation using Drupal

      In 1996, Linux kernel development is what first attracted me to Open Source, and what led me to contribute to the Linux WLAN project in 1999. Ever since, I’ve worked on or with Open Source projects pretty much full-time.

    • Linux: Drivers Should NOT be Closed Source

      In one of my previous blog entries about a Dell Support issue some of the comments suggested that the reason we were in this mess was because of the inflexible nature of the Linux kernel, the start of which was this blog entry about how evil the GPL is when it comes to making closed source drivers and why this is stopping hardware manufacturers from contributing to the kernel.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Changes to the GNOME System Administration Team

      We’d like to announce a formal system administration team. GNOME has long had an informal sysadmin team that has managed the gnome.org services. Putting this team on a more formal basis similar to the GNOME Release Team will allow us to involve and recognize contributors more effectively, and better coordinate with other parts of the GNOME project.

    • KDE

      • KDE Brainstorm: 30 days, 700 ideas!

        As we have had the KDE Brainstorm running for almost a month, reaching its 700th idea today (excluding invalid submissions). This means 27 pages of well discussed ideas that are voted upon by users and managed by developers/staff are now available.

      • “Quarterly” Report: Yakuake

        First up is moving/rearranging tabs using drag and drop. Click and hold on a tab with the left mouse button (or right mouse button, if you’ve reversed them) and drag and drop to the desired location. Drop indicators will appear on the tab bar, indicating where you’re allowed to drop a tab. People using tabs in Konsole might be familiar with this behavior.

  • Distributions

    • Thoughts from a two-day-old Gentoo newbie

      Gentoo to me is easy and simple to use, just as the many distributions follow the holy philosophy, KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), but this is actual one. With Gentoo (after newbie phase), you control and know stuff well. The package management and system administrate management are also easy to use. Every distribution has own pros and cons, no one is perfect in all aspects. But there may be one is perfect for you, and I just found mine. I believe as long as you pay a little more efforts, you can transform Gentoo into an eagle and command it to fly.

    • Ubuntu 9.04: Faster, but more of the same.

      Another six months, another solid Ubuntu release. It’s not exciting, but it does fulfill its traditional role of workhorse OS on my laptop. I’m okay with that. Trying to do too much rarely results in a useable product.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hard Plastic Books That Talk

      Although in many ways the less than $10 “Talking Books” lack features of the OLPC laptops, they also offer some advantages over their big brothers. The first is obviously in cost. Second, the audio-only interaction enables education where illiteracy often is a stumbling block. Paired with freely available audio recordings and the ability to record and share additional content, the Talking Books will be able to reach people that even the OLPC Project left behind.

    • Envizions Announces 3-D Online Community for Linux Game Console

      I have a confession: When I read press releases about Envizions’ EVO Smart Console I am unsure if the company is run by self-assured, confident visionaries or if — well, the situation is actually quite the opposite. I like (love?) the idea of an open source, Linux-powered gaming console. I like the potential it holds, the almost limitless features it could deliver, the creativity it could inspire.

    • Android

      • Android set-tops, TVs, VoIP phones are coming

        It’s official: The Google-designed Android platform is reaching out beyond the cellphone.

        Android set-tops, TVs, VoIP phones, Karaoke boxes and digital photo frames are coming soon to a retailer near you.

        The world of Android is rapidly unfolding in Asia. Software developers, chip suppliers and system companies are all racing toward the same goal: enabling the development of lean and mean, efficient consumer products built on Linux, open source and free software.

      • Android-based PMP to ship in October

        GiiNii will ship its Android-based portable media player (PMP) and digital picture frame (DPF) in October and January, respectively, according to a spokesperson. The Movit Mini portable and larger Movit Maxx DPF include touchscreens, WiFi, a webcam, and optional Bluetooth, says the company.

      • Confirmation: Motorola Will Deliver an Android-Based Set-Top Box

        Recently, we’ve covered several new opportunities, including non-phone platforms such as netbooks, e-ink devices, and set-top boxes, for Google’s open source Android operating system. Today, GigaOm and Information Week are discussing confirmation of what is likely to be the first fully-realized, non-phone hardware implementation of Android: a set-top box from Motorola called “au Box.”

      • Google CEO Eric Schmidt: Android Poised to Have Strong 2009

        Google executives used the company’s April 16 earnings call as a chance to talk about the expansion of Google Android, their open-source operating system for mobile devices, onto mini-notebooks, known popularly as “netbooks.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software for Automation and Other Industries

    Open Source is a way to get a broader community to help with development and to share in its costs. OSADL allows those members interested in developing particular Open Source software to come together in an OSADL project supported by membership fees. With the agreement of a majority of members, OSADL can delegate the development of Open Source software components.

  • 12 Open Source Games that Don’t Suck

    Open source rocks. A year or two ago I had no idea what was available out there for free…well, except for the torrent sites, not that I ever visited any of those. ;) From entire operating systems to just about any sort of application under the sun, you can find open source and/or free software. Not to mention other free fun stuff (like pr0n :p). Just finding www.openoffice.org was amazing for me, and 7-zip, and of course Firefox, and Thunderbird.. the list goes on, and I’m not including all the fun stuff I have found since I started using Linux.

  • PrismTech Enables Hughes to Switch to Open Source Middleware Technology

    PrismTech, a provider of advanced software integration and infrastructure solutions, has successfully helped Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes) migrate its VisionEMS Network Management solution to OpenFusion JacORB, an open source CORBA implementation.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Prism – Site-Specific Browser

      Alongside Ubiquity, Prism seems another fine candidate for the future Internet. They both blur the distinction between desktop and web. If you’re an old-timer, you may instinctively flinch from “Web 2.0″ stuff, because you don’t like the bells and whistles. No need to do that with Prism. If anything, Prism is spartan and glitter-free. It’s a clean, lean, practical utility. What more, it can add to the security and stability of your browsing.

    • Things You Didn’t Know About Firefox Browser Tabs

      Sure, you use Firefox, but are you really making the most of it? I mean, I know plenty of users who never bother to change the home page, even though they always go straight to another site upon starting the browser. (Just make that site your home page, people!)

      And then there’s tabs. I’ve found that not everyone knows everything they should know about Firefox tabs.

    • Mozilla Weaves a New Services Backend

      Still, ambitions remain high. Weave represents a new model for Mozilla, where users rely on Mozilla for more than just a browser interface, but for data as well. In some ways, the effort can be seen as competitive with social bookmarking sites like Delicious, though the overall goal for Weave is intended to be broader than just bookmarks.

  • Bioinformatics

    • Bioinformatics Open Source Conference, Stockholm, Sweden

      The Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC) will be held on 27 and 28 June in Stockholm, Sweden.

      A variety of open source bioinformatics packages are used by the research community across many application areas and enable research in the genomic and post-genomic era. Open source bioinformatics software has facilitated innovation, dissemination and adoption of new computational methods, reusable software components and standards.


  • Copyrights

    • Why the Pirate Bay verdict is GOOD for piracy

      All in all, thanks to today’s verdict – which I do hope would be overturned in higher courts – we should expect piracy to emerge as a full-fledged political issue, at least in Europe. This is no longer a debate about entertainment. As of today, it’s a debate about digital liberties. I think that the record industry does not fully grasp the level of political resistance it’s going to face from the young people in Europe and elsewhere. They remain ignorant at their peril.

    • Music bill forces police off beat

      Wiltshire Police officers have been banned from listening to music after the force received a £32,000 bill from the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

    • Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement

      In the short run, the Google Book Search settlement will unquestionably bring about greater access to books collected by major research libraries over the years. But it is very worrisome that this agreement, which was negotiated in secret by Google and a few lawyers working for the Authors Guild and AAP (who will, by the way, get up to $45.5 million in fees for their work on the settlement—more than all of the authors combined!), will create two complementary monopolies with exclusive rights over a research corpus of this magnitude. Monopolies are prone to engage in many abuses.

      The Book Search agreement is not really a settlement of a dispute over whether scanning books to index them is fair use. It is a major restructuring of the book industry’s future without meaningful government oversight. The market for digitized orphan books could be competitive, but will not be if this settlement is approved as is.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 02 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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