06.12.09

Real-time Linux Hacker Bill Huey Called the Mono Plan “Misguided”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Java, KDE, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SUN, Videos at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Update (21/09/09): Huey adds that his criticism of Mono is purely technical and that he never met de Icaza.

Caged monkey

Summary: Better to use closed-source Java than to be a prisoner of Redmond; ongoing dialogues about Mono

WHILE LOOKING for some daily videos we found the following gem.

Huey calls Miguel “misguided” (maybe guided by Microsoft), having personally met him already [see update at the top]. He also adds that Java is a lot better than .NET and Mono. That was in 2004, a couple of years before Java was on route to becoming Free software (GPLv2).

Check out this new massive thread which mostly voices opposition to Mono (amongst Linux Today’s readership). In one comment, however, Richard Dale states:

Well Arno Rehn and myself have been quietly working on Qt/KDE Qyoto and Kimono C# bindings for some time and they work pretty well, although I don’t think we done enough to publicize them yet. If someone comes along and writes apps in C# which happen to be as good as Tomboy and F-Spot, and they get included in distributions like Kubuntu, then maybe you’ll have to move somewhere other than KDE.

As far as I know in Gnome there are only applications written using Mono/GTK#. That is very different to writing parts of the infrastructure of Gnome using Mono. It isn’t up to me to decide about what Gnome does, but as far as KDE is concerned there is absolutely zero chance of us basing any infrastructure on Mono. We’re only interested in allowing people to write Qt and KDE applications, plugins and Plasma applets in what some people might think is a tidier language than C++.

Dale is one among those who put Mono bindings in KDE [1, 2, 3, 4]. Arno Rehn is the other [1, 2].

Carla Schroder, the managing editor of Linux Today, has invited more feedback regarding Mono and she personally adds:

The issue is not whether Mono should be available at all, but included in the default Ubuntu image. The pro-Mono comments here are completely ignoring that and instead launching into rah-rah reasons why nobody should object to Mono. (Lotsa luck.) Removing it from the default Ubuntu image and keeping it easily available in the repos is a sensible and simple solution. Thousands of packages do not make it into the default Ubuntu image; it’s not a badge of shame, and I don’t see the sense in including the fat Mono runtime in the scarce real estate of a CD image just to support a few small specialty apps.

One of our readers will explore this issue in more details as well.

I’m planning to do another (different) attempt to get the conversation right in the next weeks, either.

There are patterns of FUD that are used to actually defend Mono. How about this one for a familiar pattern?

DotGNU? They suffer from the same problem. DotGNU only gets mentioned by Mono people, apart from when they’re FUDing them, when they want to deflect some attention away from Mono.

Bernard Swiss argues:

There seems to be some real major, FUD-laced campaigns under way, lately, pushing Mono and denigrating ODF. To to be fair, many participants appear to be absolutely genuine, but there also seems to be some significant upper-tier instigation/coordination “fanning the flames”, so to speak.

Luckily, Mononono is making its entry into Ubuntu.

Tesco Recommends Vista “Due to Endorsement Money Paid to Tesco from Microsoft”

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“People everywhere love Windows.”

Bill Gates

Summary: Tesco is very frank about the reasons for its (paid-for) ‘advice’

TESCO is no enemy of GNU/Linux. In fact, amid serious problems with Windows [1], Tesco is still offering GNU/Linux PCs [2-4] and not so long ago it put the kibosh on DRM [5]. But like many other businesses, Tesco got wooed by Microsoft’s campaign of deceit, for which is pays handsomely (bribes for mindshare).

Last year we leaked the "vendor recommends" scam. Microsoft pays companies to pretend that they recommend Windows/Vista. It is now that we find that Tesco participates in similar schemes [credit goes to our contributor ThistleWeb for investigating this]. This is the full query and response from Tesco (response to the question appearing at the bottom because they top-post just like Microsoft software insists):

Dear [Anon],

Firstly, I sincerely apologise for the delay in responding to your email. We always aim to reply in a timely manner and I’m sorry I’ve let you down on this occasion.

I’m concerned to learn that you feel the information in our Spring/Summer Tesco Direct catalogue regarding the Windows Vista is there due to endorsement money paid to Tesco from Microsoft.

I’ve passed your comments regarding this on to our Tesco direct Team and I will be back in touch as soon as I receive a response.

Thank you for your patience while I look in to this for you.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me at tescodirect@tesco.co.uk quoting TES6562453X.

Kind Regards

[Anon]
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Direct

—– Original Message —–
From: [Anon]
Date: 06 June 2009
Subject: A few questions on your PC advice to customers

Hi,

I have a few questions on the buying advice you give to your customers on PCs.

In your Spring / Summer 2009 catalogue the advice on operating systems has a Windows logo along with the wording “the newest and most popular operating system today is Microsoft Windows Vista.” Incidentally, the website still lists the latest as XP. Windows is NOT the only operating system which works on generic hardware, it’s not even close to being “best in class” either.

Why do you not tell the customer this is a paid endorsement from Microsoft instead of pretending it’s Tesco’s opinion? Since Tesco only sell PCs pre-installed with Windows, it’s like having the baked beans shelf packed with ONLY Heinz products then claiming “the most popular is Heinz”. How can it not be the “most popular” if that’s all you offer? This is worse than the usual Microsoft paid endorsements of “it’s better with Windows” because many retailers at least give the consumer the option on a few models.

It would be nice if Tesco would stand up for it’s customers and give them an option of a cheaper PC without the Windows tax which would see them immune from all the malware issues that plague Windows.

[Anon]

See this for reference (the FAQ page mentioned in the E-mail to Tesco). So how much does Microsoft pay ASUS for the same type of stunt [1, 2]? These companies put business partners before customers and they have no reluctance in lying, as long as it’s profitable.
_______
[1] Tesco tills go titsup

According to PA, about 100 stores are affected, and the problems are being rectified by rebooting the checkouts.

[2] Dell & Tesco bringing Linux to the masses – launching £299 Inspiron Z530 “Web Browser” in October

The Z530 is described by Tesco as a “Web Browser” rather than a Laptop, PC, portable computer or any of the more usual terms, so presumably Dell and Tesco are aiming it at the Eee PC end of the market, where people don’t give a toss about the OS and just want something cheap to leave on the sofa for checking instant messages during the boring bits of TV.

[3] Tesco reveals unannounced Dell 12in netbook

Now, we did wonder if Tesco’s spec is a garbled reference not to a netbook but to an upcoming Dell MID. But the spec also mentions 1GB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, “Ubunto Linux” (sic), dimensions extending to 30 x 30 x 17cm and a weight of 1.2kg, all of which are rather large for an MID.

[4] Tesco sell computers with Ubuntu pre-installed – Linux on the up?

Tesco is the world’s third largest grocery retailer, and also sells everything from clothes to electrical equipment.

[5] Tesco breaks free of WMA chains

TESCO DIGITAL will soon be launched in the UK. The partly DRM-free music download concern will now offer 1.6 million Ipod-friendly MP3 files alongside the current roster 1.7-million Windows-hamstringed tunes.

Novell and Microsoft Make It Clear: They Want to Replace GNU/Linux with Patent Royalties

Posted in Asia, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Videos at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: It’s time for Novell and Microsoft to kiss in public again, but who would cover this non-event?

IT’S this time of the year again. Novell and Microsoft go on the record and tell the public how much they love each other. Other companies that signed patent deals with Microsoft (e.g. Turbolinux) occasionally do the same type of thing. It helps Microsoft promote the perception that it is a welcomed friend of GNU/Linux, despite cursing it and even suing it.

It needn’t be explained why this is damaging. It is disappointing to see Novell participating in these charades even after the TomTom/FAT debacle.

One journalist told us, “I’m going to struggle to say anything nice about Novell’s news that it’s cleaning up on Linux by pal’ing around with Microsoft. I’ll probably not say anything to avoid giving it any air time.”

The pro-Microsoft Gavin Clarke covered this non-story from Microsoft and Novell nonetheless. No wonder, it’s promotion of Microsoft and its ally. He wrote:

Now, Microsoft is attempting to exploit its controversial relationship with Novell to ride this recessionary wave. The objective is to maintain Windows’ place in the server room by propping up Novell’s SuSE Linux against rival distros.

The software giant claimed Wednesday there had been a doubling of business related to its relationship with Novell during the last six months. Playing the recessionary card, Microsoft said that as companies look for “value,” they are “signing on for the interoperability and intellectual property peace of mind solutions” offered with Novell.

There is that term again — "intellectual property peace of mind." They are using scare tactics to make sales.

In simple terms, Novell’s goal (with Microsoft) is to ensure all GNU/Linux in use starts paying Microsoft for some software patents it won’t reveal. Novell is carrying out Microsoft’s dirty job in exchange for some money. To suggest anything else is to put lipstick on a pig.

Sean Michael Kerner covered this PR fluff as well, which is disappointing.

In 2006, when the initial partnership agreement was signed, Novell was shipping SLES 10. As part of the partnership agreement, Microsoft is reselling SLES subscriptions. According to Heystee, Novell handles the Linux renewals for their joint customers that might be moving to SLES 11.

“SLES subscriptions” (or “vouchers” rather) Microsoft is already referring to as “patent royalties”. This was discovered last year. They are quite blunt about what it’s really all about.

“Microsoft struggles for itself at the moment, so it’s not floating Novell anymore.”We advise readers to see the statements from Hovsepian and Russell in Q1 — statements where they said that they had struck no major SUSE contract. It’s true. None. Just look at the trail of press releases. The same goes for Q2, but this time they probably did not say this explicitly (in the earnings call at least). A lot of Novell’s business is being transformed from something proprietary to Linux (OES2 for example), so they are good at delivering an illusion of growth where it’s more to do with evolutionary migration and reclassification.

Microsoft struggles for itself at the moment, so it’s not floating Novell anymore. Microsoft’s earnings were down 32% (expect something similar in July’s report), it has canceled around 15 products in 8 months, and it is borrowing money. Microsoft lost $18 billion in 1998 (says Smithers) and there are many reasons to believe that Microsoft is not saying the truth, not just because one of its employees/accountants blew the whistle and got paid $4 million to shut up.

Novell is meanwhile offshoring parts of SUSE to Taiwan and it truly shows. The following video reached YouTube a couple of days ago.

The presence of IDC aside, watch the big Microsoft banner/s at the back. They must be a very major part of SUSE now, at least based on this presentation. Technical content aside, watch the reasons for audio being stripped off: “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorised by WMG. The audio has been disabled.”

Nice, eh?

About a week ago, the video titled “Patriot Novell Computex Moblin” reached YouTube as well.

There are no complaints to be made about that last video, but it comes from the same event.

Update: That second video got removed altogether.

Microsoft Pays Company Which Recommends Bing Over Google

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cheers
Kool-Aid warning

Summary: A company called User Centric goes against Google, but Microsoft is its major client

SOME months ago we saw Microsoft commissioning a study that practically inverted the truths about Microsoft's search business. It claimed growth, whereas all the independent sources (established meters) claimed the very opposite. Around the same time we also saw anti-Google studies from former Microsoft employees (no disclosure was made) and we constantly see Microsoft lobbies that attack Google. When Microsoft-hired agents and former employees are all aiming squarely at Google, then despite the fact that it is not related to Free software, it cannot escape without comments. Microsoft uses similar strategies against GNU/Linux, so it is important to understand the anatomy of these strategies.

“Microsoft uses similar strategies against GNU/Linux, so it is important to understand the anatomy of these strategies.”This little bit of background bring us to today’s story. A lot of people are easily misled by already-contradicted claims that Microsoft is gaining a lot in search. On top of that, we are seeing the pro-Microsoft crowd and PR (disguised as journalism) consistently linking to claims that “Bing is better than Google for advertising” (or something along those lines).

Let us have a quick look at the original source of this claim. We are used to seeing Microsoft partners or companies that are paid by Microsoft simultaneously praising it (Net Applications, anyone?).

The source of the latest claim is a small firm called “User Centric”. For software, only 4 entities are listed among its clients. They are:

Software

Microsoft
Microsoft Games *
Sparebackup
TV Guide

Where is Google? Where are other software companies? Microsoft has 2 out of 4 slots. Might this not lead to bias?

Links 12/06/2009: Hadopi Down

Posted in News Roundup at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Native Multi-Touch Support On Linux

    Mohamed-Ikbel Boulabiar has written in to report that he and his team at the Interactive Computing Lab in ENAC, Toulouse have been successful in bringing native multi-touch support to Linux. While there is Multi-Pointer X in the mainlinue X.Org server (to be released with X.Org 7.5 / X Server 1.7), there is now multi-touch support to be able to handle gestures and other actions.

  • Fight Windows tax with a penguin stick

    During CompuTex I found a possible answer to this at the side of my own netbook, where I hung a 32 GByte Corsair Flash to make up for the fact that my HP Mini came with just 2 Gbytes of main storage. (Shown is the 64 GByte version.)

    Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, whom I met for the first time at the show, did not need a Corsair on his HP Mini, and noted it came with Ubuntu installed, from the HP online store.

  • SkyOS’s Linux Experiment

    SkyOS — a desktop OS platform, albeit a closed-source one — had been under development for a while now. It looked quite nice, although it was only available to a limited selection of alpha-testers. Then as of January, things ground to a halt. “The speed at which new hardware and technology gets developed has increased dramatically in the last few years,” wrote SkyOS’s main developer, Robert Szeleney. “Trying to catch up with development of frameworks, drivers, applications, test, etc. got way more complicated than years ago.”

  • Linux Netbook Bundled With Norton 360

    Reader Mark Scott submitted this interesting variation on Linux OEM netbooks: this one is bundled with Symantec’s Norton 360.

    Symantec’s Norton 360 is an all-in-one anti-virus anti-phishing anti-spyware anti-botnet pro-firewall, backup and restore, the kitchen sink, and much more. Annual subscriptions cost $79.99.

    Comet sells a nice-looking Toshiba NB100-11R netbook that comes with “Linux”. It does not say which Linux, but the customer reviews reveal that it is Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

  • Cuba places its bets on open-source software

    In an attempt to reach technological independence Cuba has placed its bets on open-source software, a fact evidenced at the presentation of the Nova Operating System 2.0 during the 2009 International Convention of Informatics.

    This application, based on the GNU/Linux open-source software, allows users to do their office work, play music and video files as well as web browsing among other features, and will be improved before its release.

  • Revive your old Mac G3, G4, or G5 with Linux

    Do you have an old Mac G3 or G4 lying around doing nothing? Did you know that old dinosaur could make a great server or desktop with the help of everyone’s favorite open source operating system Linux? Most people don’t realize there are Linux ports for PPC. There are, and they will make that old machine seem like it’s younger and snappier than it ever did.

  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 10

      In this episode: Unix is 40 years old, Google releases an alpha Linux version of its Chrome browser and ARM-powered laptops are spotted at Computex. Is Linux a difficult development platform and should we thin the licensing herd?

    • Linux Outlaws 96 – Screw You!

      This week Dan and Fab interview Stuart “Aq” Langridge of Canonical and formerly LugRadio about Ubuntu One, talk about the Pirate Party boarding the EU, Snowy, Bing and all the Linux news from Computex.

  • Desktop

    • A big week for Linux: is user friendliness finally in sight?

      The “I upgraded to the latest version and now sound doesn’t work” type of regression.

      With Linux now settled in a nice and predictable 2.6.x series the future looks promising.

      Let’s hope the distributors learn from past mistakes and put reliability and usability above the urge to rush new – and often quite high end – features to their consumers.

  • Server

    • Cisco Developer Contest: the ten finalists

      Mick Scully, Cisco Vice President at the Access Routing Technology group put out a VoD announcing the finalists.

    • Free EventTracker Pulse Logs Impressive Capabilities

      In a space where custom-built Linux or Unix syslog servers still reign supreme, and the acquisition of new equipment is on hold for many organizations, these minimum requirements might scare off some potential users.

    • Economic Conditions Accelerate Consolidation’s Dampening of Server Hardware Demand — New Research From TheInfoPro

      “With server budgets flat or declining for 2009, there seems to be little good news or growth areas to highlight in this latest study,” said Bob Gill, TheInfoPro’s Managing Director of Server Research. “One exception, though, can be seen in the deployment of Linux-based servers, which, while not dominant from the perspective of total OSs installed, continues to maintain growth year over year. With Linux every bit as robust as Unix in interviewees’ minds, the growing ISV base and the inescapable economics of advancing x86 technology paint a rosy picture for Linux in the coming years. There seems to be little conflict between Linux and Windows Server in most enterprises because the OSs are serving different application bases.”

    • Ten of the coolest and most powerful supercomputers of all time

      For decades, supercomputers have helped scientists perform calculations that would not have been possible on regular computers of that time. Not only has the construction of supercomputers helped push the envolope of what is possible within the computing field, but the calculations supercomputers have performed for us have helped further both science and technology, and ultimately our lives.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.30 gets new filesystems

      The new NILFS2 treats the whole disk as a consecutive list of blocks (or “log”), and never rewrites blocks. As a result, all modifications and creations are converted into sequential operations, which are said to be faster. Other NILFS2 improvements are said to include the ability to offer a more coherent historical view of operations, called “continuus snapshotting,” enabling users to restore files that have been mistakenly destroyed only a few seconds previously.

    • Torvalds proclaims ‘new world order’ with Linux 2.6.30

      Linux kernel 2.6.30 has been released with hundreds of changes from the previous version, including a new architecture for suspend and resume which Linus Torvalds says switches the kernel to a “new world order”.

    • Open Letter to Logitech – Secure Your Spot as the Premier Linux Devices Provider

      As an IT Professional, electronics consumer, and GNU/Linux user, I am continuously looking for Peripherals providers that support the “Universal Operating System” (GNU/Linux).

      I’m the guy that you’ll find in the nearby BestBuy store, or Walmart, or even Office Depot, hunkered down in the electronics aisle, flipping over boxes looking at “System Requirements” to see if there’s any indication of vendors doing the right thing and printing “Works with GNU/Linux”(or perhaps even affixing the Tux Penguin emblem) on their packaging. And although a great number of peripherals and hardware work with GNU/Linux, sometimes it’s still a bit difficult to be absolutely positive. With your help, I aim to change that.

    • ffA releases SEA 3D Pro for Linux

      On June 12, Foster Findlay Associates (ffA) plans to release SEA 3D Pro 2009.1, the latest version of its desktop 3D seismic analysis and volume interpretation software, on the Linux platform.

    • DisplayLink Linux Driver Continues To Mature

      It was just one week ago that there was an update released to the DisplayLink X.Org driver and its kernel frame-buffer module, but there is now yet another update available. This time around the xf86-video-displaylink driver is at version 0.3 and it adds preliminary support for RandR and eliminates its ShadowFB support.

    • 2.6.30 Kernel and Sidux

      Sidux Linux, based on Debian Sid (the ‘unstable’ branch) and touted as being ‘Debian Hot & Spicy!’, has released their 2.6.30 kernel with a huge surprise.

      If you read around the web about the release of this new kernel, nearly every article discusses increased performance and a large number of new drivers for the 2.6.30 kernel release. But within Sidux, the kernel developer slh has decided to remove all non-Free (Libre) firmware from the Sidux kernels. The result is poor hardware performance within Sidux 2.6.30 kernels, at least thus far according to rants on the OFTC irc network on the #sidux and #smxi channels.

    • Linux 2.6.30 Gets Faster Boot

      The second Linux kernel of 2009 is now out, sporting a long list of improvements — and at least one regression.

      New filesystem support, security and driver improvements are all part of the new Linux 2.6.30 kernel release, although one of the most noticeable elements in the new release is the kernel inclusion of fastboot, an enhancement designed to speed startup for Linux-based systems.

    • Ubuntu 9.04: New Intel Graphics Drivers

      There is hope for Ubuntu users with Intel graphics. As it appears, the current 2D drivers solve most of the recent graphics problems with Intel chips, according to Ubuntu developer Bryce Harrington in a developer mailing list. Jaunty users should profit it from them as well.

  • Applications

    • Linux Gaming: 20,000 Light-Years Into Space

      We all need a break from our daily routine, and many PC users like that break to be in the form of a game. This is where most people say Linux doesn’t have any games. Au contraire mon ami. Linux does have games. Not your modern full-on 3D games that require more computing power than your average Beowulf cluster, but it does have a large amount of solid games that can serve to get your game-break on.

    • Yum, It’s Starting to Get Tasty

      The release of Fedora 11 promises numerous new improvements. One such improvement is an updated and more efficient package manager. How does it compare to the previous release, version 10?

  • KDE

    • Network Manager Sprint In Oslo

      A small but intense code sprint took place in Oslo last weekend. Peder Osevoll Midthjell, Sveinung Dalatun and Anders Sandven, who work on mobile broadband connections for Linux as their thesis project, met with Darío Freddi, Will Stephenson and Frederik Gladhorn of KDE. Knut Yrvin spent his weekend with us to make us feel comfortable at Qt Software.

    • Stallman, Bender, Lefkowitz and Pavelek To Hold Keynotes at Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

      The GNOME Foundation and KDE e.V. are excited to announce the keynotes for the first ever co-located Akademy and GUADEC, over 100 talks as well as BOFs, keynote sessions, lightning talks and many opportunities to meet other developers and begin collaborating between projects.
      Current confirmed keynotes are:

      * Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation
      * Walter Bender, Executive Director, Sugar Labs
      * Robert Lefkowitz, Distinguished Engineer of the ACM
      * Jakub Pavelek, Nokia

  • Distributions

    • Macpup – Puppy on steroids

      Puppy is more than just a distro. It’s a whole family of colorful editions, each catering its own special, unique motto. If the official release cannot satisfy your needs, one of the Puplets surely will. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your time and bandwidth.

      Exploring the world of Linux live CD experience has never been more fun. Download your favorite Puppy and start playing. Macpup is definitely one of the finer breeds out there, but who knows what you might find?

    • Ubuntu 9.04 vs. Fedora 11 Performance

      Fedora 11 was released earlier this week so we have set out to see how its desktop performance compares to that of Ubuntu 9.04, which was released back in April. Using the Phoronix Test Suite we compared these two leading Linux distributions in tasks like code compilation, Apache web server performance, audio/video encoding, multi-processing, ray-tracing, computational biology, various disk tasks, graphics manipulation, encryption, chess AI, image conversion, database, and other tests.

    • Blue Caress Theme Added.

      New Blue Caress theme for PCLinuxOS designed by community member geminiguy

  • Red Hat

  • Ubuntu

    • Interactive notifications mockup

      I’ve read about morphing windows on the Wiki but I think that they would undermine consistency a bit. I’m attaching a mockup to this mail, but I’m so bad at using Gimp that much of what I’m proposing will be left to your ability of understanding me. :-)

    • Ubuntu One Beta Finally Kicks Off

      Ubuntu One Beta, the Dropbox type of service by Canonical has finally kicked off, bt not for all. When my invitation arrived I quickly moved on to test it.

    • Ubuntu aims for ten-second boot time with 10.04

      The developers behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution aim to significantly improve boot performance. Their ambitious goal for 2010 is to reduce total boot time to 10 seconds.

    • Ubuntu user magazine

      I spotted a new magazine in WHSmiths today. Its was called Ubuntu-User and was made by the same people that make Linux-Magazine.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MIPS to release Android source code by August

      MIPS Technologies announced that source code for the Android port to MIPS released by Embedded Alley last week would be made publicly available within 60 days. MIPS also joined the Open Embedded Software Foundation consortium supporting Android, and announced that VioSoft will support the MIPS/Android platform with its Arriba tools.

    • ARM9 workhorse cranks it up

      Atmel is sampling a faster version of its low-power ARM926EJ-S-based processor, offered with a free Linux BSP. The SAM9G10 ramps up to a 266MHz clock rate compared to the SAM9261-S’s 188MHz, boosts bus frequency to 133MHz, up from 94MHz, and consumes only 100mW in full-power mode, claims the company.

    • Navigation SoC combines GPS and Galileo tracking

      SiRF Technology is shipping a Linux-compatible navigation system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates a application processor and a “location engine” equipped with both GPS and Galileo satellite tracking. The “SiRFatlasIV” is billed as a lower-cost version of SiRF’s SiRFprima SoC, offering the same 500MHz ARM11 core and hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, says SiRF.

    • Low-cost, High-resolution IP Camera Runs Linux

      US embedded hardware OEM KwikByte is shipping a low-cost, tiny embedded Linux system designed for surveillance and machine vision. KwikByte demonstrated the system running open-source packages providing features such as streaming video server and computer vision.

    • FPGA-based server parallelism

      Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Mitrionics already introduced the world to hybrid server performance based on parallel FPGAs. Now, the company is hoping to make the programming of such unique platforms more palatable through a Linux software development kit.

    • Palm Pre

      I’m impressed. There’s a few rough edges and some obvious short-term hacks, but overall the Pre has the appearance of being a well-engineered distribution. It’s recognisably Linux in a way the Android isn’t. Since it seems to be possible to gain root by entering the developer mode, I suspect that modifying the firmware image isn’t especially difficult. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when GSM ones appear.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Atomic Warfare

        And with Netbooks retailing under $400, compared to Microsoft Intel makes hardly any profit at all. So Microsoft has to die.

        This is a huge change for Intel, which has for decades acted as Microsoft’s bitch, doing pretty much whatever Redmond demanded for fear of being written-out of the next Windows PC hardware spec in favor of AMD or even IBM. But that was the old Microsoft. The Microsoft of today isn’t nearly as powerful, whether they yet know it or not.

      • Attendance falls but Android dazzles
      • Small but disruptive

        At Computex, Acer announced that it would use Android together with an Intel chip. Other firms are expected to follow suit. Intel is also pushing another version of Linux, called Moblin. Its long partnership with Microsoft notwithstanding, Intel does not seem to care what operating system netbooks use, provided they contain the firm’s chips.

        Linux may also prove popular for tablets, a market that Apple is likely to energise when it finally launches its much-awaited new device (though any Apple tablet will run its own operating system). The reason it did not happen this week, some say, was that either the tablet or Mr Jobs, who would like to present it personally, is not yet ready for action. Unlike Godot, Mr Jobs and the new gadget are likely to appear eventually—probably in time for the holiday season.

      • Google’s Android to run laptops, challenge Microsoft

        ARM, based in Cambridge, England, is a potential beneficiary of Android’s success because Microsoft’s Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 don’t run on ARM-based computers.

        “Microsoft going forward may have to work on an ARM-based solution,” said Daiwa’s Huang. “If Microsoft doesn’t want to see Google Android get into the PC market, they will have to support ARM; otherwise, ARM will go perfectly with Android.”

      • Interview with Intel’s Pankaj Kedia @ Computex 2009

        All those devices are based on the Android or Linux operation systems because of cost-efficiency issues but also because of lack of support from Microsoft. (This was also confirmed by Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s corporate VP for original equipment manufacturers during his interview at Computex). Intel seems to have let those challenges emerge even though it has enough of a shield to have avoided this competition from the starting point.

      • Android will chip away at Windows’ PC dominance

        Some of the Android usage agreements also allow the Google logo to be used; a netbook or notebook with a Google logo on it would be more recognizable to consumers than a notebook running another Linux variant like Ubuntu.

      • HP replaces Mini 1000 with Mini 110

        The Linux version starts at $279 and can be upgraded from an Intel N270 Atom CPU to the slightly-faster N280 CPU and the RAM can be bumped from 1GB to 2GB. The XP version starts at $329 and features the same CPU upgrade option, although the RAM is stuck at 1GB thanks to Microsoft’s weird netbook rules.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Help reddit celebrate 1 year of open source by helping your favorite open source project!

    Wow, on June 17, 2009, it’ll be an entire year since reddit went open source. If you weren’t around, or missed the hacky stop-motion video announcing it, reddit has been open source for a year now. See for yourself at code.reddit.

  • Jitterbit 3 expands open source data integration

    In a perfect world, data would all be easily transportable and consumable. The world is not perfect, and that’s why the work that open source data integration vendor Jitterbit does, is valuable to many organizations. I first wrote about Jitterbit around the time of their 1.0 release in 2006 ,and now they’re gearing up with their 3.0 release.

  • Open Source sensing initiative launched

    A new open source-style project to promote Open Source Sensing has been started, with the goal of bringing the benefits of a bottom-up, decentralized approach to sensing for security and environmental purposes.

  • Sri Lanka open source firm starts free ‘summer school’

    WSO2, a Sri Lankan software firm, is starting a free ‘summer school’ this month on open source software and service oriented architecture (SOA), the company said.
    The eight week program will help at enterprise IT architects and developers to become more familiar with SOA concepts, technologies and best practices, the company said.

    WSO2 says the developer community has been hit by the global economic downturn.

  • Top in his field

    Open-source experts are a rare breed in the country and we found one in the unlikeliest place — a farm.

  • EC software law could divide open source

    The world of open-source development could be divided if the European Commission succeeds in passing a law extending consumer protection rules to software, according to experts.

    The Commission proposes software companies be held liable in the EU for the security and efficacy of their products.

    David Mitchell, senior vice president of IT Research at Ovum, thinks this may lead to a situation boosting current open-source vendors’ business models, but making it more difficult for independent developers to thrive.

  • Introducing Gloss

    Everyone knows Pygame is a super-fast way to produce cross-platform games. But its one major flaw is that it’s very slow to do simple operations such as scaling, rotating and recoloring. In fact, even making extensive use of transparency can be a bit slow, so I’ve produced a new graphics toolkit that makes all those things extremely fast, and I’ve called it Gloss.

  • Building native mobile applications with open source mobile platforms

    Three open source products are aiming to reduce the barrier to entry for customers wishing to build native mobile applications using Web development skills alone. These products are PhoneGap, Rhomobile, and Appcelerator’s Titanium Mobile.

  • Events

    • Blog Your Way to OSCON

      Ultimately, our development team will be putting a spam-removal system in where spam should not get through at all, and if it does, volunteer moderators will be able to remove it and block the offending spammer regardless of the time of day. This system will also be put in place for the direct messaging system and the forums, too.

    • OpenSource World Offering Free Admission

      Organizers of the upcoming OpenSource World conference broadened the event program and are offering free admission, hoping to attract more attendees in a time of slashed travel budgets and increased competition from similar shows.

  • Fog Computing

    • At Hadoop Summit, Yahoo! Announces its Tested Distribution

      Mike Olson, CEO of Cloudera, a well-funded startup that provides commercial support for Hadoop, also weighed in on how it will make use of Yahoo!’s distribution:

      “The general availability of Yahoo!’s Hadoop source code helps make Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop even more robust and scalable, and we will continue to collaborate with Yahoo! to include their tested source code in our commercial distribution,” said Mike Olson, CEO of Cloudera. “Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop is a complete, enterprise-ready distribution inclusive of key tools, utilities, and full service and support, to help enterprises deploy and manage the Hadoop platform for large-scale data processing and management.”

    • Hadoop Gets the SQOOP from Cloudera

      The Apache Hadoop project offers the promise of being able to manage and process large volumes of data quickly. It’s a project that is used by big Web titans like Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook, and it’s about to get a critical new tool to help it ingest even more data.

  • CMS

    • Reviewed: New Book on Selecting an Open Source CMS

      People who are new to content management systems find it a little overwhelming as they try to figure out which CMS is right for them. Packt Publishing (news, site) has released a book that hopes to help people make some sense out of so many choices.

    • click2try(TM) Adds Sakai CLE to Open Source Catalog

      click2try (http://www.click2try.com), a community site that makes it easy to try and use Open Source software, today announced it has added Sakai CLE to its online catalog of Open Source applications.

    • Simplifying Life With MediaWiki and Ubuntu

      After several years of trying to find a good note-taking solution, I’ve finally settled on a local installation of MediaWiki on my Ubuntu laptop for managing information relevant to my academic and personal pursuits. Below, I outline my experiences with the software, and explain why the ease of deploying it and similar packages on Ubuntu is one of the platform’s greatest, and perhaps most under-appreciated, strengths.

      Since college, I’ve tried at least half-a-dozen different approaches to taking notes, and until now was less than satisfied with each of them. Handwritten notes are difficult to store and search through. OpenOffice is bulky for notetaking, while plain text files offer little opportunity for mark-up. The various note-taking applications that I tried, like Tomboy, were decent, but none offered exactly what I wanted.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Add-on Collections for Firefox

      Mozilla has announced the release of Add-on Collections, groups of add-ons that all relate to a particular topic.

    • Introducing Add-on Collections

      The ability to completely customize your browser with thousands of add-ons is one of the best features of Firefox, and highlights the talent, dedication, and innovation of our great community. With thousands of add-ons and close to 1.5 billion downloads, Mozilla has been working hard this year to provide a great experience for both add-on users and developers.

    • Mozilla Introduces Add-on Collections
    • Battleground Firefox: The Extension Wars

      As was recently demonstrated by Microsoft, Iwin Games and a number of other companies, anybody can install an extension into Firefox, and those extensions are not limited in what they can do.

      Now this really isn’t a knock against Firefox. The extensions system is a dream come true. However, in it’s current form it’s also a timebomb waiting to happen. All you need is one creative virus maker, or malicious corporation, and boom! Firefox ceases to be the secure juggernaut it is and becomes the prostitute of whomever wants to take it over.

      As Microsoft’s .Net extension proves, it’s not that hard to use the extensions system to take Firefox and turn it into the same kind of virus magnet that Internet Explorer is, only much worse. Now I’m not saying we need to abandon Firefox, but rather that two key things need to happen.

  • Business

    • Open source will never do that…

      Years ago I proclaimed open source would never be relevant in the application market. Now I work for an open-source applications company.

  • Government

    • The Source Code of Power

      Tom Watson is that rare thing: a net-savvy MP. So his decision to step down as minister means that our loss is all the greater.

    • Ex-government CIO favours publishing Gateway reviews
    • About Reusing Open Source in Italian Public Administrations

      During the Public Administrations Innovator barcamp I have been interviewed by Cogo Gigi, one of the organizers, to talk about sustainable innovation in software for public administrations.

    • Vancouver becomes role model for open source in government

      Open source activists are praising the Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source motion passed by the City of Vancouver last month. City Councillor Andrea Reimer provides an update on what to expect next.

    • IBM eyes opportunity in G2009 failure

      A spokesman for IBM’s open-source effort in the Asia-Pacific region says he is excited at the new opportunity opened up for open-source products by the collapse of the G2009 bulk agreement with Microsoft.

    • DHS project aims to bring open-source software to state and local agencies

      The Homeland Security Department is funding a program that will help federal, state and local agencies better understand their options for using open-source software.

      DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate will fund the Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) project, which will start with a one-year, $1.5 million contract and possible additional years to follow. The University of Southern Mississippi and the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) will conduct the work, and the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command will handle the contracting and help with guidance for the program.

    • New Jersey to make open source EMRs illegal

      Editor’s note: it actually does not appear to specifically make open source illegal but the side effect may be that. Unless they are CCHIT certified.

    • CCHIT Slates Web Seminars

      The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology will present two free Web conferences June 16 and 17 to gather comments on plans to refine its certification of electronic health records software.

  • Openness

    • The argument for gold OA support

      Are green and gold open access independent of each other? In particular, is worry about gold OA a waste of time, and are expenditures on it a waste of money? Stevan Harnad has brought up this issue in response to a recent talk I gave at Cal Tech, and in particular my remarks about a potential “open access compact”. I will take this opportunity to explain why I think that the answer to both questions is “no”.

    • ETD2009: The Semantic Scientific Thesis

      My arguments will be that almost all theses are created with the “book” or “journal” metaphor and based on flat text, flat images and little if any linking or semantics. This is an increasingly outdated way of communicating to humans in today’s pervasive web where we learn to interact with information from the cradle upwards.

    • Ecology, Economics, Sharing

      One of the things that interests me at the moment is the way open source ideas are proving hugely useful when considering areas like economics and environmentalism

    • Inspiration Information

      Villarreal has access to the Bluestone interview and several others like it through the Open Source Teaching Project, a Tennessee-based program that helps students make real-life connections to academic content. The program sends interviewers to speak faceto- face with experts in a range of fields who share their passion for their work, explain what they do on a daily basis, and suggest steps students can take to achieve similar careers. The interviews are then posted online, free for anyone to access, accompanied by teacher resources, including lesson plans and blogs.

    • The new paradigm for public service.

      The Open Source Teaching Project (OST) mobilizes students to interview successful professionals so that they can inspire and inform the education and career decisions of other students. This free, digital media platform is provided for the benefit of the public, with a particular focus on reaching middle, high school, and post-secondary learners.

    • Nanotechnology Council Launches Open-source Wiki

      The Rice University-based International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) on June 1 introduced the GoodNanoGuide, an online, community-driven wiki for information about the safe handling of nanomaterials.

    • Are Commercial Buildings Ready for Open-Source Energy Management?

      Picture the lighting and chillers of commercial buildings being controlled by a system designed in the same way as Mozilla’s Firefox — through open source, the collaborative method of developing software source code. While we’ve covered open source-based home area energy management systems, the OpenLynx project, started by Anno Scholten, vice president of business development for NovusEdge, is looking to tackle the underlying software that controls the energy consumption of massive commercial buildings.

    • Writer Illuminates The World Through Kindle, And The Great Open Source Writing Experiment

      So here is the Great Open Source experiment:

      The original versions of “Crystal Earth” scripts and “The War for Truth” are available for purchase and download through the Kindle bookstore AND the open source version can be attained by any writers willing to undertake the project.

  • Programming

    • NetBeans 6.7 Community Acceptance Survey launched

      The NetBeans developers have announced the start of the NetBeans 6.7 Community Acceptance Survey and are asking users to provide feedback on the current release candidate.

    • If PHP then goto is the future

      Few things can spark more religious fervour amongst programmers than the mention of a goto statement. PHP has stepped into the middle of the firefight by announcing that it will be implementing goto functionality in version 5.3.

  • Applications

    • Ooo4Kids: Open Office for the XO Laptop

      Do you like your office automation software to be a free and Open Source as your Sugar Learning Platform? Then rejoice now that Eric Bachard has helped create OOo4Kids, an Open Office customized for 7-12 year old children that works on the XO laptop…

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Running code as part of an open standards policy

      Governments around the world are considering implementing or even mandating open standards policies. They believe these policies will provide economic, socio–political, and technical benefits. In this article, we analyze the failure of the Massachusetts’s open standards policy as applied to document formats. We argue it failed due to the lack of running code. Running code refers to multiple independent, interoperable implementations of an open standard. With running code, users have choice in their adoption of a software product and consequently economic and technological benefits. We urge governments to incorporate a “running code” requirement when adopting an open standards policy.

Leftovers

  • Elsevier Reveals More Details About Its Fake Journal Division

    Remember how Elsevier and Merck were caught putting out a fake journal that had articles favoring Merck drugs, implying peer reviewed articles that weren’t? Soon afterwards, it came out that Elsevier had a whole division for such things. However, following an internal investigation, it looks like Elsevier is backtracking a bit and saying that, while the group’s practices were problematic, most weren’t as egregious as the “Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine (AJBJM)” that was created by Merck and Elsevier.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case Over Computer Tech’s Right To Search Your Computer

      The guy appealed to the Supreme Court, who has declined to hear the case, meaning that the ruling stands for the time being. So, basically, if you hand your computer over to someone else for repairs, at least in some jurisdictions, they may have pretty free rein in terms of what they’re allowed to access on your computer.

    • Commission steps up pressure on Telecoms Package

      The European Commission is putting pressure on the Council and the new European Parliament for the swift adoption of the Telecoms Package. Such adoption would mean that Internet access could legally be restricted by broadband providers and would not allow for proper scrutiny of the law or any consideration of the implications of Amendment 138.

    • The Big Broadband Bluff

      This is precisely what net neutrality is all about. It doesn’t matter what the bits are, you pay purely on the basis of quantity or speed you want. Attempts by BT and Virgin to pretend that high-quality video streaming services are somehow different are just a pathetic attempt to try it on with authorities and users that don’t know any better. We do, so we need to call their bluff.

  • Copyrights

    • UK government or IFPI – whose figures are dodgy?

      According to an article in The Guardian. a recent UK government research report on downloading and copyright enforcement contained some ‘dodgy figures’. Interestingly, the report claims far heavier ‘losses’ from downloading than the music industry’s own figures. And some quietly released figures from the BPI show digital music sales going up, and only a small recessionary downturn in overall revenue.

    • Hadopi : le Conseil constitutionnel censure la riposte graduée
    • Can Scraping Non-Infringing Content Become Copyright Infringement… Because Of How Scrapers Work?

      Earlier this year, we couldn’t figure out how Facebook’s lawsuit against Power.com made any sense. Power.com tried to aggregate various social networking accounts in a single place, so you could manage them all at once through a single interface. Yet Facebook charged the company with all sorts of complaints, including copyright and trademark infringement, unlawful competition and violation of the computer fraud and abuse act.

    • Copyleft Is Not Enough

      Freedom is not about having power over someone else (or what someone else has), it’s about oneself (and one’s possessions) being free of someone else’s power.

      Copyright and patent are privileges that give holders power over others (and what they may or may not do with their possessions). Copyleft is about restoring the individual’s freedoms suspended by these privileges. Copyleft is not about giving the author, recipient or user of software, power over others or others’ computers.

    • Student challenges prof, wins right to post source code he wrote for course

      Kyle Brady writes, “Thanks to some perseverance and asking the right questions, SJSU professors are now prohibited from barring students from posting their code solutions online, as well as penalizing their students for doing so. A win for students, programmers, and copyfighters nationwide!”

    • ISPs and Copyright Holders Set Up ‘Pirate Review Board’

      ISPs and the entertainment industries are in negotiations to set up a so-called ‘pirate review board’ in Denmark. The body will oversee and mediate in cases of copyright infringement by alleged online pirates and try to stop large organizations ending up in court, such as in The Pirate Bay and AllofMP3 domain blocking cases.

    • What do the EU results and Pirate Party mean for digital rights?

      Stand back from the media frenzy concentrating on Labour’s woes for a moment, and ask yourself what these elections mean for digital rights.

      Several parties that broadly supported digital rights concerns did well in this election, including, in the UK, UKIP and the Greens. The Liberal Democrats also had a fair showing.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Gerry Singleton, OpenOffice.org documentation lead 01 (2007)

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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