Links 18/06/2009: Kindle Opens, Linux 2.6.31 in the Details

Posted in News Roundup at 8:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • FAQ: What to know about Moblin

    Moblin is a collection of open-source projects, including the Linux kernel, and made available in the Linux Standard Base (LSB) RPM packaging format. The beta of the Moblin 2.0 operating system was released earlier this month, and supports netbooks and net-tops. But the target is much broader, including personal devices, television, and in-vehicle automotive computing.

  • PARIS AIR SHOW: Linux control and heavy fuel engines for KillerBee

    The company’s small tactical unmanned aircraft systems (STUAS) ground control station, which Raytheon describes as a variant of the US Navy’s Tactical Control System, uses the Linux operating system.

    The common datalink is designed to be interoperable with open architecture networks and KillerBee used it to relay video from 4,500ft (1,370m) to a ground station over 93km (50nm) away. In a similar test the Linux ground control station provided target information to a distant soldier equipped with a Javelin anti-tank guided weapon. Following the Yuma flights, Raytheon’s engine will now undergo full qualification flight tests.

  • Druvaa Insync v3 Now Available On Linux Platform

    Druvaa, a provider of state of the art data safeguarding and back up solutions, recently announced the much awaited commercial availability of the Druvaa Insync version 3 on the Linux Platform. The Druvaa Insync is a completely mechanized laptop backing application, which helps companies safeguard its data for both on-site and off-site workers.


    In the new Linux version, the graphical user interface is unchanged.

  • Linux Against Poverty: The Update.

    The date is approaching, and we’re ready to kick Linux Against Poverty into high gear.

    For our friends in other cities, we’ve made a few changes. The initial Linux Against Poverty event will be in Austin only.

  • CompuTex Linux found in Israel

    So, what happened?

    As a result of the show we received an initial order from one OEM for 400 licenses for test purposes. If the test succeeds, follow-up order will be for 10,000 copies. Five other OEM’s are in the stages of technical qualification. Once this step is complete, we expect orders to come in from Taiwan, Malaysia and Latin America.

  • Linux on a stick

    The compact and flexible nature of the Linux Kernel, plus the fact that it and all its support code is modular open source, means it lends itself very well to stripped down small and efficient distributions. This article explores a few of these distributions and explains just how useful they can be

  • Linux Outlaws 97 – Clickety-Clack

    This week the Outlaws discuss the resurgence of the Mono wars, Libre.fm fussing over leaked albums, Squirrels on Leo Laporte’s face, USB 3.0 and multi-touch in Linux, the browserless edition of Win7 for Europe and there’s also some hockey talk and more.

  • Desktop

    • Seneca an open source leader

      For those who may be unfamiliar with open source software, it refers to the public release of code used to produce various software. Therefore, people can make modifications to the software to improve it or make it specific to their needs. Popular examples of this type of software are Mozilla’s Firefox Internet browser and the Linux operating system.

    • What is the best Linux distribution for beginners

      To conclude I would say this: the easiest Linux distribution to install and use for beginners is Linux Mint, however if you want professional support or commercial applications the best Linux distribution for a beginner is Ubuntu. If you want an easy install “just to try Linux” you should use Linux Mint.

    • Still a minute faster

      Back in March, I compared the load times for Windows XP and Fedora 10 on different hardware, and found that Linux booted about a minute faster. The fact that I had to run the test on different hardware was because I have to run Windows on my work laptop, but my wife happily runs Linux on her laptop at home. But it was still interesting that Linux booted faster on much older hardware (2005: IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T43, Intel Centrino CPU @ 1.86 GHz, 512MB memory) compared to the newer laptop running Windows (2008: Dell Latitude D430, Intel Core2 CPU @ 1.20GHz, 2GB memory).

    • Ubuntu, OpenX Chiefs Talk OS, Search Disruption

      To Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical — the lead commercial backer of the Ubuntu Linux distribution — squaring off against Windows is a battle worth fighting.

      “The operating system is the intersection of so many things in technology,” Shuttleworth said here at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference. “It’s where software meets technology.”

      And as Shuttleworth sees it, he and others who have built their businesses around open source — Canonical provides premium, paid services around Ubuntu in addition to supporting the OS’s development — have an distinct advantage against the Microsofts of the world.

  • Server

    • Survey Predicts Continued Strong Growth of Linux Use on Mainframes

      The study surveyed 100 IT executives and managers at companies with at least $2 billion in annual revenue about their use of the Linux operating system on IBM mainframes. 93% of respondents projected that their use of IBM’s IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) specialty mainframe processor would increase or at least remain steady over the course of the next two years. 42% projected that their use of the IFL would grow between 21% and 40%, and 10% projected that it would grow more than 76%.

    • Alfresco, ParaScale Team Up for Content as a Service in the Cloud

      “This lowers costs both by eliminating a layer of servers to run Alfresco as well as by allowing the usage of commodity-priced storage,” Krishnan said. “ParaScale’s storage nodes are standard Linux servers, and it took zero effort for Alfresco to bring up their application directly on ParaScale’s storage servers.”

  • Kernel Space

    • TTM, Radeon KMS Support Goes Into Linux 2.6.31

      Last week a pull request went in to bring support in the Linux 2.6.31 kernel for Radeon kernel mode-setting and TTM memory management. This initial work was proposed to enter the Linux kernel as a staging driver and then be setup as a proper Linux kernel driver in the next release, Linux 2.6.32.

    • NVIDIA Privately Releases OpenCL Linux Driver

      Back in May we shared that NVIDIA was readying its OpenCL Linux driver and had submitted their OpenCL 1.0 NVIDIA drivers to the Khronos Group for certification. As of this morning, NVIDIA has now released its OpenCL driver for Linux (and Windows), but it’s only available if you are a registered NVIDIA developer. Developers of hand-helds, games, workstations, and GPU computing are able to apply and if you are lucky you will get your hands on the OpenCL binary driver.

    • Linux Plumbers 2009

      In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last several months, I’d like to remind you that the Linux Plumbers Conference is currently soliciting submissions for the following tracks:

      1. Audio: Lennart Poettering
      2. Boot and Init: Dave Jones
      3. Embedded Systems: Greg Kroah-Hartman and David Woodhouse
      4. Energy Efficiency, Performance, and Power Management
      5. Inter-Distributor Cooperation: James Bottomley

  • Applications

    • Mumbles Brings (More) Growl-Like Notifications to Linux

      Linux: Ubuntu 9.04 introduced a set of upper-corner notifications similar to Growl, but they lack for customization in both appearance and usability. Mumbles aims to bring a true Growl-like experience to Linux desktops.

    • Songbird 1.2 is here

      Songbird 1.2 focuses on improving library management and provides full integration with iTunes, in case you want to live in both worlds. We continue to listen to your feedback on Get Satisfaction, our blog and Bugzilla. Please let us know what’s important to you.

    • Stream Music With Subsonic
    • Install more then 100 games in one command with Djl
    • VirtualBox 3.0 Beta Brings SMP, OpenGL 2.0

      Sun Microsystems has announced the first beta release of VirtualBox 3.0 Beta 1. The major additions to VirtualBox 3.0 so far is guest SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing) support for up to 32 virtual CPUs, Windows guests now support Direct3D 8/9 applications and games, and there is now OpenGL 2.0 support for Windows, Linux, and Solaris guests.

    • GAP for GIMP 2.6 released

      GAP is a collection of GIMP plugins that make it possible to create animations as sequences of single frames. The result can be saved as animated GIF, AVI or MPEG file (external libraries are used for this).

    • 5 Ways to Contribute to GIMP

      GIMP, just like any other free software that runs under GNU project, is open to community based contributions and suggestions by users. There are various ways in which a user can contribute to GIMP–some of them are technical and some of them can be adopted by non-technical users also.

    • Web Browsers

      • The Conkeror Web Browser Conquers Small Screens

        Conkeror is a Web browser with an Emacs-style look, feel and configuration. It uses Firefox’s HTML rendering engine and works with most Firefox extensions, but it provides a keyboard-driven interface and makes excellent use of screen space. It’s a fitting Web browser for Netbooks with their imprecise touchpads and small screens. Conkeror uses the same free software license as Firefox.

      • Mozilla pushes Firefox 3.5 RC to beta testers

        If you’ve been using the Firefox 3.5 beta, you now get to upgrade to the release candidate for Firefox 3.5.

      • Firefox 3.5 RC1 emerges

        The Mozilla developers have released the first release candidate (RC1) of version 3.5 of their open source Firefox web browser, code named “Shiretoko”. The release, currently only available to Firefox 3.5 beta and preview users, includes several new features and performance improvements.

      • about:mozilla – Service Week, New AMO, Community store, 3.5 demos, FSOSS, audio/video, Design Challenge, Weave, Jetpack, Personas, and more…

        # Mozilla Service Week launches!
        # New AMO and Add-on collections
        # Show us your speed
        # Get creative with the Firefox 3.5 launch
        # Firefox 3.5 feature demos
        # Update to Firefox 3.0.11 now available
        # FSOSS 2009 accepting proposals
        # Commit access policy revised
        # Audio and video elements and assistive technologies
        # Design Challenge submission deadline: June 21st

      • First look: Opera Unite alpha lets you share files — but is it safe?

        For now, Unite, which is available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, is alpha software. That means it breaks. A lot. (I experienced a number of disconnects and freezes.) Still, I was able to get it to work on systems running Windows XP and SimplyMepis 8.0, a Debian Linux distribution.

      • Did Opera Just Reinvent the Web?
  • Desktop Environments

    • Social Desktop Contest

      Today we are launching the Social Desktop Contest. As you know the idea of the Social Desktop is to connect online webservices with desktop applications. We give away great prices to developers who help making this vision reality.

      The Open Collaboration Services API has gotten many new features in the past few months and is now stable. The first features will ship with KDE 4.3, but this is only the beginning. Now that the infrastructure is in place we think that it is a good time to open up the development to more developers.

    • Make Your Computer Desktop Do Your Bidding With Étoilé
  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

      • My ideas for Mandriva 2010.0

        I tried to be as exhaustive as possible, but many ideas are missing, but I’d rather wait for another release. From firsts comments and rumor, 2010.0 will be an exciting release :-)

      • Mandriva Triage Team needs your help

        This is the reason for suggesting you to join to BugSquad: if we are more people, everybody will have to do less work, having more free time and, also, being able to dedicate a bit more time to every report for triaging them better.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 11 ScreenShots

        Here we bring you ScreenShots of the Fedora 11 Installation process, as well with some of the apps that Fedora brings. Now I personally have not been a Fedora/RedHat fan for the Desktop environment since RedHat 7.3. After going through the install process and playing around for about 15 minutes, the only thing that I found impressive was how fast Fedora 11 booted. I know I will get flamed for the previous comment but this is my personal opinion.

      • If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.

        Some important statistics from the first week of Fedora 11 release:

        * Over 140 Terabytes of Fedora 11 shipped via BitTorrent.
        * Approximately 200,000 direct downloads from unique IP addresses. (Incidentally, there were over 600,000 requests but some IP addresses requested more than one download.)

      • The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 2: KDE
    • Debian/Ubuntu

      • Debian – Debian GNU Linux 5 review

        Debian GNU/Linux (Debian for short) tends not to attract the same attention as more flashy distros such as Ubuntu, even though the popular Ubuntu package is, in fact, Debian based.

        Moreover, Debian developers like to take their time embracing new technologies, with a relatively lengthy release cycle compared to most of the Linux clan. Indeed, it’s taken almost two years to come up with Debian 5, the latest incarnation of this venerable distro.


        This long-awaited update to the Debian GNU/Linux distro goes a long way towards catching up with what alternatives like Ubuntu have to offer. It’s still not quite state-of-the-art, but that doesn’t matter, with Debian 5 a well conceived, easy to deploy and stable platform for those who value function over form.

      • Favorite applications, most recommended for Ubuntu
      • 13 things to get excited for in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

        1. New Theme
        2. I list this first because we’ve been promised this for so long, and even though we were promised it was actually happening in Karmic, i’m just not so sure anymore. I hope to see it, but i won’t set myself up to be crushed if we don’t =] Flawless PulseAudio
        3. Oh yes, we’ve been waiting on this for all too long. Audio should finally be close to perfect. If you’re like me, and haven’t had any real problems with it, please move along to the next item. Firefox 3.5
        The wonderful new version of Mozilla Firefox that adds support for Ogg Theora/Vorbis, audio and video, respectively for HTML 5′s Open Web Video (also supported in Midori using WebKit) should be a significant upgrade from the current version.

      • Karmic Koala To Offer More Diverse Wallpaper Selection
      • There is more to Ubuntu than meets the eye

        It took me more than 4 years to use Ubuntu as my main distro. I am running 9.04/64 on my HP Compaq nx6325 laptop since the beginning of May, and I am very happy with its performance. But that’s normal isn’t it? So, what more can Ubuntu offer me that will make me stick to it? The human factor.

      • Distro Review: Linux Mint 7 Gloria

        Time for another distro review, and this time I thought I’d look at the latest version of a distribution I’ve enjoyed a lot in the past. Linux Mint 7, AKA Gloria. I’m tempted to make references to Van Morrison here, but I’ll restrain myself. The last version I reviewed was actually Linux Mint 5, so I’ve missed a release. At the time I said it was the best Linux distribution I’d seen for new users, better even than the hallowed Ubuntu (upon which it is based). Would I still feel the same?


        Ease Of Installation & Use: 5/5
        Stability: 4/5
        Community & Documentation: 4/5
        Features: 5/5
        Overall: 4/5

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Amazon releases Kindle source code to the world

      Jeff Bezos wants the Kindle to have some healthy competition. That’s why Amazon just released their source code for all the Kindle devices. It’s basic Linux underneath (kernel 2.6.22 on the latest 2.1 software), but includes E Ink drivers and other hardware support.

    • Amazon Kindle powered by Linux, FSF not impressed

      Amazon is also using BusyBox (how can you not if you’re running embedded?), so it’s a good thing they’ve released that code – BusyBox has been active in recent years by way of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) in making sure that vendors that use their code actually comply with the GPL.

    • Open source Carrier Grade Linux middleware rev’d

      The OpenSAF project announced a new version of its open source High Availability (HA) middleware platform for Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) networking systems. Release 3.0 of the Open Service Availability Framework (OpenSAF) adds numerous platform management features, usability improvements, and support for Java APIs, says the project.

    • New Version of Linux1394 Delivers Significant Design Benefits and Advantages for Industrial, Instrumentation, Camera Applications

      Revisions and enhancements to Linux1394 will provide significant advantages to developers of industrial and security cameras, vision systems, and other innovative applications based on FireWire800, the 1394 Trade Association said today.

      Enhancements include automatic bandwidth allocation for isochronous (real-time) data transmission in case of bus resets. All re-allocations are now handled within the kernel so developers do not need extensive knowledge of or experience with these requirements. Client programs no longer need to implement reallocation in their bus reset handling, and in many applications can get rid of bus reset handlers. Isochronous resources are reliably released at client program shutdown.

    • IDE rev’d for improved multi-core debugging

      Swedish telecom software firm Enea announced a new version of its Linux-compatible Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE). Optima 2.1 adds enhanced system level debugging functionality via upgraded versions of the Enea BlackBox Recorder and Optima Log Analyzer, with a special focus on debugging multi-core and multi-processor applications, the company says.

    • ARM9 SoC targets touch-capable auto and industrial devices

      Testimonial quotes were offered from a variety of software vendors supporting the i.MX25, with the two that mentioned specific Linux support (AllGo and CodeSourcery) listed below. The full list of vendors announcing support include Adeneo Embedded, AllGo Embedded Systems, Beckoff, CodeSourcery, IAR Systems, ICytecture, Ka-Ro Electronics, and QNX.

    • Tiny SBC spawns GPRS router

      German embedded vendor SSV announced an add-on GSM/GPRS wireless router module for one of its miniature ARM-based SBCs (single-board computers). The “Embedded GPRS Router” module is designed to plug into SSV’s Linux-ready DIL/NetPC ADNP/9200 SBC, to create a programmable router for remote equipment.

    • Low-power ARM9 SBC supports Linux

      The Linux distribution offered with the SBC includes a Debian ARM Linux 2.6.27 kernel, U-boot 1.3.4, GCC 4.2, Perl, and MySQL. The package is said to include a Linux cross development tool-chain, as well as other utilities “for rapid native application development.”

    • Phones

      • 18 awesome Palm Pre tips, tricks and shortcuts
      • Palm Pre: The official Cool Tools review

        What it is: The touchscreen Pre is Palm’s latest entrant into the smartphone market, and includes all of the features users would expect from today’s smartphones: a compact size, e-mail access (including Exchange), Web browser, multimedia (music and videos) player, digital camera, embedded GPS and the ability to download new applications directly through an app store. Differences from the iPhone include a physical slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the ability to keep multiple applications open simultaneously.

      • Asian mobile operators team up for Android

        A group including some of Asia’s most powerful mobile phone network operators on Thursday announced a campaign to promote the development of applications for Google’s Android mobile operating system, a further sign of growing enthusiasm for the software in Asia.

      • Android on ARM “very snappy,” analysts say

        Android running on ARM-based “smartbooks” looks “very snappy” compared to Windows 7 on an Intel Atom, Gartner analysts are said to have declared. Meanwhile, according to another industry report, Garmin-Asus says it will ship an Android-based Nuvifone smartphone by year’s end.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Archos 10 Ubuntu with 500GB hard disk and 2GB RAM released!

        This is pretty awesome. Archos releases the Archos 10 Ubuntu edition, with a 500GB hard drive, 2GB RAM and a 6-cell battery built-in. Running Ubuntu 9.04. All for not much more than the Archos 10 with Windows XP, 160GB and 1GB of RAM: available for 375€ at french retailer Surcouf.

      • DIY Netbook Linux

        There are a variety of netbook distros out there, but you can have a little fun creating your own. Here are some software packages and tips worth considering:

Free Software/Open Source

  • Save a job with open source

    My own home county of Buncombe in western North Carolina will be letting about 80 teachers go with the current budget. Like many other government agencies, and businesses, they simply don’t have enough money coming in.

    But, Wollenberg asks, why don’t we save money for teachers, by switching to FOSS (free and open-source software), he’s not talking about major changes, like switching from Linux to Windows on desktops. He’s talking about taking small steps. As Wollenberg points out, it’s not so much that the school systems have problems with open source; it’s that they’re reluctant to adopt anything new.


    For instance, Microsoft has finally given up on Microsoft Money. Intuit, of course, wants all those customers to go over to Quicken. But, should they? Shouldn’t they at least consider GnuCash?

  • Tru2way Enters ‘Open’ Era

    CableLabs is offering the RI for free download under Gnu Public License (GPL) v2 open source license terms, allowing developers to contribute back to the “evolving software code and tool base.” However, CableLabs is also offering it under a commercial license that, at last check, will cost about $100,000.

  • Weapon against epidemics: Cell phones

    Many global health institutions are now encouraging the use of advanced methodologies such as smart phones and open-source software as the next generation of data transmission, said Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, an informatics scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • OpenOffice.org

  • Web

    • The PeC Review: KompoZer is a Capable, Free Web Authoring System

      KompoZer is a complete, open-source, and free web authoring system that combines web file management, coding hints, and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) page editor that is easy for non-technical site owners or designers to grasp.

    • JumpBox Delivers a 2-Minute Install of The Dspace Open Source Repository Software

      JumpBox, publisher of virtual appliances that provide the easiest way to trial, develop, and deploy Open Source applications, today announced the availability of the JumpBox for DSpace. This addition marks the fiftieth JumpBox in its growing catalogue of time-saving virtual appliances for Open Source software.

    • Open Source Customization – Tailoring your website to choice

      Open source Content Management Systems like WordPress and Joomla are of great use in modern techno-freak world. WordPress forms the most popular blogging platform, with many a people hosting their weblogs on this platform.

    • MIT Media Lab using Drupal

      After CSAIL started using Drupal (the group where Tim-Berners Lee works), the MIT Media Lab also switched to Drupal. Check out there Drupal site at http://media.mit.edu. As a former academic and a long term admirer of the MIT Media Lab, I think that is just really cool!

    • Drupal 7 testing: status update and next steps

      The first version of Drupal’s automated test framework was developed in 2004 by Moshe Weitzman. It started as a simple wrapper around the SimpleTest unit testing framework. Later, Thomas Ilsche and Rok Zlender extended it as part of the Google Summer of Code projects of 2005 and 2006. NowPublic and others continued to sponsor Rok’s work into 2008. Today, Jimmy Berry is the principal contributor of the Drupal test framework, as well as the main developer and maintainer of Drupal.org’s automated test infrastructure. Behind the scenes, Kieran Lal was instrumental in helping to ensure our test framework received financial support, project management, hardware resources, and server administrators.

  • Events

    • Portland downloads two new open source conventions

      Open Source Bridge plans a loose “unconference” format, Eschright said, in hopes of bringing together developers from a variety of specialties.

      “We wanted people that work with different technologies to talk to each other,” said Eschright, one of 30 volunteers staging the conference.

    • OpenSource World announces keynote speakers

      IDG World Expo has announced speakers for its inaugural OpenSource World 2009 show (formerly LinuxWorld) on Aug. 12-13 in San Francisco. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen will keynote the conference, which will feature presentations on Linux desktops, netbooks, Android, mobile devices, enterprise, security, troubleshooting, and numerous “cloud” topics.

  • Business

    • xTuple Promotes Open Source ERP to Partners

      Read the partner marketing materials a bit further, and you’ll discover xTuple has more than doubled its sales and internal staff in the past year. Now, xTuple is building a partner program to accelerate that growth. In addition to traditional resellers and consultants, xTuple seeks SaaS (software as a service) partners that want to host xTuple on their own. (xTuple, by the way, has no plans to become a SaaS provider on its own.)

    • xTuple Opens an Online Store for ERP Extensions
    • Open Source Management Line Evolves to Ecosystem

      GroundWork Open Source has begun beta testing GroundWork Monitor 6.0, which includes the company’s first software development kit. With it, third parties and customers can extend the system’s capabilities to collect information from other devices and control them.

    • Open Source’s Funambol Intros Mobile Cloud Sync Tools

      Funambol, a provider of mobile open source cloud sync and push e-mail, reportedly has released a mobile cloud sync index study evaluating solutions from 12 of the top device makers, portals, carriers and specialists in the mobile industry.

    • eXo merges with JBoss – a game changer?

      In the past week two open source portal initiatives decided to merge efforts: going forward eXo will now be a part of the Red Hat JBoss Portal. It’s a significant announcement but not one that is really going to rock the enterprise portal buyers world.

  • Funding

    • CIA’s Technology Arm Taps Open Source for Enterprise Search

      The company in charge of providing technology to the U.S. intelligence community has invested in an open-source firm to provide enterprise-search technology to the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

    • CIA Invests in Open Source Lucene, Solr Search
    • A downloading guide for freeloaders

      “The cost of the Microsoft Office suite is prohibitive, so we chose OpenOffice and it does everything we need,” Mr Waite says. “It’s saved us about 18,000 ($A38,000). I just wish we’d deployed more open source software from the outset.”

    • Welcome to the low-cost world of open source

      “It’s amazingly easy to start,” he says. “You just need to get onto the internet. A great example is clarkconnect.com, a site from a Linux distributor that is designed to help people who don’t know what they’re doing set up open source.”

    • The computer helper: Going open source – Feature

      In tough economic times, there’s a good reason to start exploring open source software: it’s free. But that’s not the only reason. The fact is, the open source software movement – which seeks revenue in ways other than through selling software to the general public – has resulted in so many first-quality applications that you could conceivably outfit an entire PC without ever spending any money at all. Read on for some ideas.

    • The commercialisation of Memcached

      There has been a significant increase in interest in the Memcached, the open source distributed memory object-caching system, in recent months, as a number of vendors look to exploit its popularity in Web 2.0 and social networking environments.

      Like Hadoop, which has become the focus of a number of commercial plays, it would appear that the time is right for commercialization of Memcached. But what is it, here did it come from, and what are the chances for vendors to rake in serious cash? Here are the details.

  • Releases

    • EnterpriseDB revs Postgres database

      The Postgres Plus database peddled by upstart EnterpriseDB was revved this week with the fifth tweak of its Oracle compatibility layer, bringing enhanced compatibility of key features in generations of Oracle databases and enabling the Postgres Plus Advanced Server database to mimic Oracle databases, particularly when coping with errors.

      Hopefully EnterpriseDB won’t take Oracle compatibility too far and develop a sudden urge to take over the world or buy a big yacht.

    • Wireshark’s New 1.2

      Wireshark 1.2 introduces a few “new and exciting” features for its network protocol analyzer software.

  • Government

    • Opening new doors

      In this week’s cover story, contributing writer Brian Robinson examines the open-source movement and its growing, if still somewhat grudging, acceptance in the government space.

  • Licensing

    • OASIS: New IP Policy Makes Room for Open Source

      In a nod to the open-source community, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, or OASIS, revises its intellectual property policy to include a non-assertion mode, which means standards contributors must forgo royalty claims or license rights.

  • Openness

    • Future of Open Source: Collaborative Culture

      On the cover of indie-rock band Bon Iver’s recent Top 20 record Blood Bank is a striking photograph of a snow-encrusted, rusted car door. The record label didn’t commission the image, or find it an art gallery or stock photography bank; instead, it licensed the shot from amateur photographer Lauren Hudgins, who had posted it to her Flickr feed last year when she was teaching English in Japan.

    • Synthetic biology: Feasibility of the open source movement

      (Nanowerk News) Synthetic biology is developing into one of the most exciting fields in science and technology and is receiving increased attention from venture capitalists, government and university laboratories, major corporations, and startup companies. This emerging technology promises not only to enable cheap, lifesaving new drugs, but also to yield innovative biofuels that can help address the world’s energy problems.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML 5: Could it kill Flash and Silverlight?

      HTML 5, a groundbreaking upgrade to the prominent Web presentation specification, could become a game-changer in Web application development, one that might even make obsolete such plug-in-based rich Internet application (RIA) technologies as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Sun JavaFX.

      The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) HTML 5 proposal [1] is geared toward Web applications, something not adequately addressed in previous incarnations of HTML, the W3C acknowledges. In other words, HTML 5 tackles the gap that Flash, Silverlight, and JavaFX are trying to fill.


      Google may also face some touchy decisions. For example, its YouTube subsidiary uses Flash for its video, but the inclusion of HTML 5 capabilities in browsers might cause YouTube to rethink that decision, notes Fette. “It’s a cost/benefit analysis that they’d need to make.”

    • Another online-video comparison

      As Greg Maxwell nicely pointed out it appears Theora can compete with other formats used to distribute video content online. He compared output generated by YouTube’s encoding mechanism with output generated by the new Theora enconder (as of writing libtheora 1.1alpha2 is the latest release). The result in a nutshell: Theora delivers similar performance to whatever encoder setup is currently used at YouTube – this means online streaming services can use open media technology without paying a significant price in bitrate or quality compared to current setups.

    • W3C launches appeal to scupper Apple patent

      The W3C, custodians of web standards, have launched an appeal for prior art to contest an Apple patent that appears to cover any kind of automated updating procedure, including the Widget standard on which the group is working.

      The patent, filed in 1995 and awarded in 1998, and which Apple revealed to the W3C in March, covers an application contacting a central server to see if a new version is available, and downloading the replacement if it is. As such it would appear to cover most of the automated updating systems commonly in use today, though the W3C is most concerned with the impact it’s going to have on the forthcoming widget standards.

    • Open Letter to Google’s Eric Schmidt Requesting HTTPS

      Google Mail, Calendar and Docs could be vulnerable. That’s the argument an open letter to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt makes, thereby asking him to adopt the HTTPS standard for data transfers for these applications.

    • The Biggest FOSS Challenge: the Smart Grid

      Andy Updegrove, ace attorney and author of the excellent Standards Blog, is one of the few people who understands the real implications behind seemingly-simple goals like “Let’s have paperless networked medical records so health care workers can be more efficient” and “Let’s have a smart electrical grid that manages electricity delivery intelligently.”


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • EFF and Public Knowledge Reluctantly Drop Lawsuit for Information About ACTA

      The Obama Administration’s decision to support Bush-era concealment policies has forced the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge (PK) to drop their lawsuit about the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). EFF and PK had been seeking important documents about the secret intellectual property enforcement treaty that has broad implications for global privacy and innovation.

      Federal judges have very little discretion to overrule Executive Branch decisions to classify information on “national security” grounds, and the Obama Administration has recently informed the court that it intends to defend the classification claims originally made by the Bush Administration.

    • Phorm incinerates $50m in 12 months

      Phorm was forced into deep cost-cutting after its controversial battle to monitor and profile web users burned through an average of more than $4m per month last year, its financial results today reveal.


      On Tuesday the Commission in London said it had received a response from the government to its formal letter in April and was considering its next move. The government told privacy campaigners it would not make public the content of the response

    • Bloggers’ views on anonymity

      Det Con Richard Horton from Lancashire Constabulary asked for an injunction against the Times journalist Patrick Foster from publishing the true identity of his ‘Night Jack’ blog. Patrick Foster explained in the Times how and why he tracked Horton down. Also in the Times, Richard Horton stated why he decided to start a blog.

    • BT Heavily Throttling BBC, All Video

      Significant error in this story: BT’s terms of service explicitly say that streaming video will be throttled to 896K on Option 1 (about 1,000 words in) I was therefore wrong to say this was a change that would allow breaking contracts. I relied on another reporters’ comments rather than reading the actual BT posting. Thanks to Simon Dux of BT for the facts that showed my error.

  • Copyrights

    • Yet Another Study Shows That Weaker Copyright Benefits Everyone

      Economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf have written some previous papers on this subject, but they’ve just come out with a new working paper on how weaker copyright protection benefits society (pdf file). Michael Geist has an excellent overview and summary of the paper. To understand the key points made by the paper, you need to understand the purpose of copyright — something that many people are confused about. It’s always been about creating incentives to create new works.

    • Recording Industry: Radio Is Piracy, But Not Playing Our Music Is A Federal Offense

      It appears that the big record labels and their lobbyists aren’t content with just suing and shaking down students across the country — now they want to threaten them for taking a political stand as well. Earlier this week, musicFIRST, the big time lobbying group put together by the RIAA to push for the highly questionable.

    • I’ll have a little Elvis with that, thanks

      CAFE and restaurant patrons could soon be eating in silence, after a proposal by Australia’s largest record labels to increase the cost of background music by up to 2000 times.

      The push to raise the cost of playing recorded music could also make gym membership more expensive unless fitness classes use artists excluded by Australian copyright laws, including Elvis Presley and Beethoven.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 01 (2004)

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

Novell, Like Microsoft, Starts Trading Debt

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The money trap

Summary: Novell is buying back debt, so what’s the trap?

SOME weeks ago Microsoft made it official that it was borrowing money. Both Novell and Microsoft have accounting fraud in their not-so-distant past [1, 2], so to trust what they say regarding finance is quite a gamble [pun not intended].

Well, Novell has just unleashed this press release, whose interpretation is as follows

Novell to buy back $121.6M of debt


Open-source network software company Novell Inc. says that it is launching a cash tender offer to spend $121.67 million to purchase back some debt.

The Waltham-based company says it will buy back its 0.50 percent convertible senior debentures due 2024 for $1,000 per $1,000 principal amount of the debentures, plus any accrued and unpaid interest up to July 15, 2009, the day after the offer ends.

The struggling Northern Rock is likely to be doing the same thing. From 2 days ago in the news:

Northern Rock may buy back debt

The British government is working on a plan to reduce nationalized bank Northern Rock (OTCPK:NHRKF)’s debt, sources close to the discussions said.


In turn, the move may help persuade the European Commission that the $4.9 billion capital injection is not state aid.

The Commission’s ruling on the strategy could come as early this week, The Times said.

According to this, debt buybacks are intended to reduce debt and “The big draw back to debt buybacks, of course, is that a company sacrifices liquidity to reduce its leverage, and some companies may be better off holding onto cash or using it in other ways.

Microsoft on Competition: “We Need to Create the Reputation for Problems and Incompatibilities to Undermine Confidence”

Posted in Antitrust, FUD, IBM, Microsoft, OpenDocument, Standard at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Angry girl

Summary: Microsoft is vandalising not only competing products of ‘partners’ but also their reputation

YESTERDAY we wrote about saboteurs and FUD against OS/2, showing that Microsoft may have even broken the law in order to advance its agenda. Today we deal with another court exhibit, Exhibit plex_5401 (1991) [PDF]. It may be old, but it was never made widely accessible to the public, so we share it here and explain how it relates to the present.

Brad Silverberg, one of Microsoft’s most aggressive people (he said “cut those f*ckers off” when a company chose DR-DOS), is herein expressing and defining Microsoft FUD. Cameron Myhrvold, the brother of Microsoft's patent troll (Nathan Myhrvold), is in circulation as well and both are currently in Ignition Partners, which seemingly helped the hijack of Xen.

Watch what Silverberg writes:

>From bradsi Thu Oct 24 09:18:30 1991
To: samt
Subject: Re: DR DOS, will they/won’t they buy

Date: Wed Oct 23 16:16:23 1991

This is a very important point. We need to create the reputation
for problems and incompatibilies to undermine confidence
in drdos6; so people will make judgements against it without
knowing details or fats. it’s will be tricky to do;
we should dig up as many user stories as possible. compare
drdow6 to dos4; ibm has expereince will building bad/incompat

we should think how we can get this down.

That sounds very clearly like a plan to misbehave. Further down it is also shown that “kathybe” invites these chaps to the OS/2 briefing. She says: “I have not heard back from you.”

From kathybe Wed Oct 23 17:16:34 1991
To: adamwa alistair andys bobmu bradsi cameronm carls claraj davidt
davidtu davidwo dwaynew ericfo gregl karlst kevine markclbobt nikim
perttir randyk roberth stewc tycar vesas
Cc: Corptech
Subject: URGENT – Can You Come on 10/29?
Date: Wed Oct 23 17:13:24 PDT 1991

You were invited to attend the rehearsal presentation of the OS/2
Issue Account District Briefings on 10/29. I have not heard back from you.

We need you to review these presentations to ensure that the info
we are presenting to customers and the field is correct. We will be
doing six (6) districts over the next eight weeks which covers 70

Yesterday we saw what kind of OS/2 presentations Steve Ballmer was giving. He put in an application which was specifically designed (by Microsoft) to crash OS/2 and ruin the demonstrations.

It’s all something to bear in mind now that Microsoft is trying to prove ODF is broken. Microsoft was an IBM and OS/2 partner at this time of sabotage and FUD. Now it is pretending to be an ODF partner with IBM, Sun, Oracle, Google, Red Hat and so on. Needless to say, Microsoft is still badmouthing ODF behind the scenes and it is reducing ODF interoprability [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit plex_5401, as text

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Soapbox is on Fire

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Videos at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Burning microphone session

Summary: Another Microsoft product put near the firing line

Last year, Microsoft decided to axe its book scanning (and search) project. In essence, it lost this race to Google. Microsoft has some other me-too projects which virtually copy Google (Maps, Apps, etc.) and another one if them seems to be dying. Some people never even heard of it.

Microsoft plans to “significantly scale back” its Soapbox service, the would-be YouTube challenger it launched in 2006. Whatever that means.

This is part of a never-ending series of dead/dying Microsoft products. Last week it was Microsoft Money.

ODF Comes Before OOXML

Posted in Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: ODF gains further momentum and Microsoft’s smears against it gain momentum also

A new online validator (AGPL 3.0-licensed) has been built that supports ODF before it ever bothers with OOXML, which is proprietary and assciated with scandals.

The Office-o-tron will inspect a submitted office document and produce a validation report. It understands ODF for now (OOXML coming soon).

The preference or precedence of ODF says a lot.

“More recently we saw Microsoft folks engaging in some more Wikipedia subversion in the article on ODF.”Microsoft is meanwhile badmouthing ODF and fragmenting it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. In response to the accusations of a whisper campaign, Microsoft’s special friend (who makes money from Microsoft-related contracts) calls ODF “crappy”. It is important to remember where this man’s (Rick Jelliffe’s) money comes from because the Microsoft ecosystem is broad and self serving. Rob Weir responds by saying: “A bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. Rick Jelliffe denies disinformation campaign against ODF by telling more lies about ODF.

That’s nice.

Rick Jelliffe was previously offered money by Microsoft to edit Wikipedia. More recently we saw Microsoft folks engaging in some more Wikipedia subversion in the article on ODF. See the following for details and examples:

This Microsoft-inspired intervention in Wikipedia most certainly continues. For example, one need only look at some of hAl's latest edits. One person writes: “Some anti-ODF trolling is in the air, but it will not succeed”

Another Microsoft-affiliated person (an MVP) is attending an ODF conference to cause trouble and disrupt, just as we warned. And indeed, he comes there just to heckle along with friends from Microsoft. That company is simply allergic to anything that facilitates freedom and fair competition. The business model is based on forcing people to use particular products (e.g. using bundling and lock-in) rather than offer something they actually want. Even longtime Windows users still try to reject Vista and get rid of the ribbon interface in Microsoft Office.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 17th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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