Salivating Over Silverlight

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 11:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baby drool

Summary: If Novell’s vice president is “droolingly” Microsoft’s, then how can Mono and Novell be trusted anymore?

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about GIMP getting the shaft for questionable reasons [1, 2, 3]. Rather than remove Mono, Ubuntu decided to demote a very key application.

This is good news for Microsoft. In his typical fashion* Thom Holwerda is suggesting Paint.NET (or Paint.Mono) as a replacement. What an insult that would be. GIMP is actually in the process of adding a Photoshop-like user interface as an option in the main branch.

In other Mono news, “Docky Separates from GNOME Do” and GNOME Do, which is based on Mono, is still seen as a failure by some. From a new post:

Like every other Linux program, [GNOME] Do saves time and effort. Like every other Linux program, Do also costs time and effort in the bugs that it has. The most frustrating bug I’ve had so far is that Do simply disappears on a restart. It runs and in a manner it “exists” since I can resize it on my desktop, but I can’t actually see or use it. Apparently this is a known bug, and I haven’t been able to find a decent solution to it. It’s especially unfortunate because Do provides so much convenience that when it doesn’t work properly, I feel like I’m reverting to some primitive age where I’m dependent on my mouse (the horror!)

And yet, some people would recommend GNOME Do for inclusion by default. The same goes for Banshee, which only Novell customers are permitted to use “safely” [1, 2, 3, 4]. And then there is Moonlight, which is also tied to Mono and contains proprietary Microsoft codecs. Moonlight imitates a Microsoft product that is not cross-platform. From listening to this audiocast which includes Mary Jo Foley, I was able to gather that Silverlight may converge and merge with WPF, a desktop-side environment like AIR, but one which favours Windows and Internet Explorer. Silverlight has turned Miguel de Icaza into a "drooling" fan, to use his own verbal descriptions (where he labels disagreement as “Microsoft haters” [1, 2]). Some find it so appalling that entire posts/articles are composed about it. The latest of which says:

Miguel, Microsoft and the drool factor


When he writes about Microsoft, it resembles the kind of writing that a kid does when he gets a shiny, new toy. De Icaza drools over technology announcements from the big M – and he ensures that people know he is in that state by signing off “droolingly yours.”

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

Novell’s de Icaza does not learn from the fact that Microsoft uses APIs to discriminate against the competition, Novell included. Groklaw has just posted some more Comes vs Microsoft exhibits, showing how Microsoft used APIs to leave Novell out in the cold. As for XAML, it is already made clear that there will be platform discrimination, so why is de Icaza running into this trap? Quite frankly, his evangelism for Microsoft** makes him suitable to become a Microsoft employee.

Microsoft is taking away Novell’s customers anyway. Published a few days ago:

Finally, Trammell said they plan to upgrade the entire district’s servers, probably going from a Novell system to a Windows system.

“After that point, we’re basically going to see how much money’s left,” Trammell said.

According to this news report, another district is “probably going from a Novell system to a Windows system.” So does de Icaza. He abandons the roots of SUSE and dresses up the desktop with everything from Windows. Who benefits from this?
* Holwerda has been promoting the Microsoft party line for quite a while. We last gave an example just two weeks ago.
** A few days ago Miguel de Icaza wrote: “OMG OMG OMG OMG #silverligh4 has everything I wanted on it: full desktop apps with full system access”

Microsoft May Have Failed to Comply With the GNU GPL (Again)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 10:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: No compliance after GPL violation from Microsoft; the exploited project is meanwhile unpublished by its author

MICROSOFT’S latest GPL violation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] is one among several [1, 2, 3] and those who give Microsoft credit for merely complying with the law after getting caught red-handed [1, 2] ought to consider the fact that Microsoft offered promises but no compliance. There is still no GPL-licensed tool for Vista 7, but then again, this operating system is scarcely used anyway.

Microsoft fails to open source Windows 7 USB tool

A posting on Microsoft’s Port 25 blog last week revealed that the company had failed to release the code of the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Microsoft had admitted that the tool contained code from a GPL licensed application, ImageMaster, which was hosted on Microsoft’s CodePlex project hosting site. Peter Galli, Microsoft’s Open Source Community Manager, said “While we worked extremely hard to try and get the code ready for release by today, we still need to test and localise it”. The plan is now to release the code “in the next few weeks”.

Our reader Yuhong shares this new link, quoting a part which says “definitely in the sense that the culture at Microsoft still – after all these years – still emphasizes exigency over fair play,” then adding that Port 25′s response is here. Another reader of ours noticed that Microsoft’s Sara Ford is there in the comments too, having recently appeared with Miguel de Icaza (they are both in Microsoft’s CodePlex). We mentioned her before [1, 2] and now she says: “I’m the Program Manager for CodePlex. The project was unpublished at the project owner’s request. The owner can republish the project at any time.

What? No code? Epic fail.

Hand with thumb down

Boycott Google, Says Microsoft to Publishers

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, SCO, SUN at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Microsoft is using companies against other companies that pose a threat to Microsoft’s revenue

Those among Microsoft evangelists who want to boycott Firefox and Opera may actually feel comfortable with Microsoft’s scheme to boycott Google through publishers. According to new reports, Microsoft’s plan may gain more members for this boycott. Will they be paid by Microsoft for this? Or will the bad publicity for Google be sufficiently worthwhile? As it stands, many people are sympathetic towards Google and disgusted by Microsoft’s strategy which leads to this service degradation:

MediaNews Group Inc., the Post’s publisher, will block Google News when it starts charging readers in Pennsylvania and California for online content next year, Chief Executive Officer Dean Singleton said in an interview. Morning News owner A.H. Belo Corp. may introduce online subscription fees and also block Google, Executive Vice President James Moroney said.

As a little bit of background, see:

This whole idea of using companies to attack your main rival is rather familiar. Microsoft also paid SCO a lot of money when it attacked Linux. Here is another nice refresher:

First you had to convince the United States Department of Justice that you were not being monopolistic when it comes to the desktop operating system and web browser. You sited Apple, Linux, and Netscape as competitors in this space. Lost but later you settled with the Unitied States while litigating Netscape to death. Your 750 million settlement with AOL/Netscape bought you browser market share. Even though you supposedly out of court by 2003, you were funding SCO in hopes of killing Linux. Now that SCO is bankrupt, you are busy defending your office suite in court with the Word patent suit and Novell is still suing you over Word Perfect. Do you still find it profitable to sue smaller companies that use Linux in their talking-devices based on the Linux kernel like the TomTom?

It proceeds to showing why Microsoft has failed:

You lost…

* The kernel behind Google Android phones like the Droid is Linux.
* Netscape is now the open source browser Firefox. There have been over 400 million downloads since I made the bet with Nick in June 2009.
* Sun Microsystems, one your targets via SCO suits, is still sponsoring Open Office. In a few short months, you will have lost majority market share to the Open Office suite.
* The Google/Ubuntu hybrid web-optimized Linux system called ChromeOS will hit your operating system, browser, and office suite market share hard.

It may all be true, but Microsoft is now using SAP against OpenOffice.org and Java (the rivals of the main cash cow and Microsoft’s development universe, respectively). Microsoft is always finding someone who is corruptible or coercible enough to do its battles.

Matt Asay has just explained why Microsoft is so fearful of Free software and Google. It is a clear explanation:

Google makes money by making it easy to discover others’ content. So does Apple’s iTunes. Google can afford to give away lots of free software (and even free hardware) to nudge people into its advertising model.

That’s hugely disruptive.

In software, Microsoft doesn’t like competing with free Linux. Microsoft spends a lot of money developing Windows. It must seem unfair to have to compete with the rest of the industry, which increasingly coalesces around Linux (or Android, or MySQL, or…).

But that’s life in the open-source economy. Your core competence is always going to be someone else’s throwaway complement, and ripe for open-source commoditization.

Microsoft is still run by thugs, so the idea of using third parties to do the “dirty job” (like a mafia) is not far fetched, it’s already a reality.

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Microsoft Fans Still Spread Microsoft’s Lies Against GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft lies

Summary: Statements from Microsoft that are already confirmed to be incorrect FUD keep surfacing through the Microsoft-faithful crowd

AS Dell (vendor) and analysts have both argued publicly, Microsoft is lying about sales of GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks and their return rates. That’s just what Microsoft does to compete — it lies.

The lies can stick if reiterated endlessly by malicious or unsuspecting “reporters” and a classic example of this involves the measuring of GNU/Linux desktop market share [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

An author who for quite a few months (relatively new) has been promoting Microsoft and bashing competitors in ZDNet UK has just spread Microsoft lies again and Jamie Watson (also a writer for ZDNet UK) rebuts:

Your article states:

would getting the OS for free be enough to tempt them back after the way Linux netbooks came flooding back as returns?

Do you have some valid proof of this unsubstantiated statement, or are you just regurgitating something that you heard or read somewhere once, because it serves the purposes of the Windows-centric world to keep repeating it until it is accepted as fact regardless of validity?

The FUDMeister then makes up some numbers and it backfires when Watson replies again:

Note: I have removed the links from this comment, to stop it from triggering the (very irritating) “spam filter”. If you want to read the original quoted articles, they are not difficult to find, just do a search on something terribly complex like “linux netbook returns”. The real information is out there, if you are interested enough to bother looking for it.

All right, first, my comment on your article related to the unsubstantiated statement about “Linux netbooks came flooding back as returns”. That has nothing to do with whether Windows is more popular than Linux on netbooks, or any possible reasons that might be the case. Of course, if you can’t substantiate a blanket statement, it is always a good strategy to change the subject.

Second, if you think there is any relationship between Linux and MacOS X, there is no point in continuing this conversation because one of us doesn’t know what we are talking about.

Third, I have personally been told by the CEO of every netbook manufacturer on the entire planet that returns of Linux netbooks have been running at about 10.736% of the return rate of Windows notebooks, but unfortunately they also requested that I not name them. Drat. I guess my “anonymous information” is every bit as valid as is yours. Nice try, though.

Fourth, and most importantly, some direct quotes and relevant information:

- The Register published this quote from Open Source World in August 2009:

Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said the number of Linux returns are approximately the same as those for Windows netbooks. He categorized the matter of returns as a “non-issue”. “They are making something of nothing,” he said of Microsoft’s claims.

- In an October 2008 interview with Laptop Magazine, the ASUS CEO was asked specifically about Linux/Windows return rates, and said this:

I think the return rate for the Eee PCs are low but I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates.

Ok, but what about the numerous claims that return rates are higher? Well, I found one totally unsubstantiated statement from the Microsoft “Chief Operating Officer” that Linux netbook returns were “like four or five times higher than Windows”. No proof. No attribution. No numbers. Honestly, I don’t believe a single word that comes out of the mouth of anyone at Microsoft, period. They could tell me that today is Wednesday, and I wouldn’t believe it until I checked the calendar. One thing they could say which I might find marginally interesting is the return rate on Vista netbooks, but I am under no delusions that they will ever do that, because the word Vista never passes the lips of anyone from Microsoft.

The only other documented reference to this that I could find was the quote from MIS’s Director of U.S. Sales in October 2008 that Linux netbooks were being returned at a rate 4 times higher than Windows netbooks. That sounds pretty convincing, until you find out that when he made that statement, MSI was not even shipping their first Linux-based system, and like everyone else making these statements, he provides no information about where he got that number.

So I say again, if anyone has any clear, concrete proof that netbooks loaded with Linux are, were or will be returned at a significantly higher rate than netbooks loaded with Windows, I would love to see it. I believe that this is nothing more than FUD originally sewn by Microsoft, and since then repeated, blindly, as gospel truth, by various uninformed industry executives, “pundits” and journalists, such as yourself. This is the way Microsoft works. If you state something as “fact”, and repeat it often enough, and get your minions to repeat it, even without any proof, it will eventually be generally accepted as “fact”.

The real “scandal” in the netbook market was Microsoft forcing manufacturers to use Windows Vista. Even after it was obvious that Vista was a stinking pile of garbage on typical netbook hardware (the primary problems were the Atom CPU and 945/950 graphics), very little was written about it. I personally own three netbooks which came with Vista: an HP 2133 Mini-Note, which was loaded with Vista Buisiness and included an XP Professional “downgrade” DVD; I literally couldn’t get it to boot Vista to a stable, usable state, so I ended up trashing Vista and loading XP (but of course Microsoft booked it as a Vista sale). An ASUS N10J that came preloaded with Vista Business and an XP Pro “downgrade” DVD. It will at least boot Vista, but it is so slow and prone to hanging, “White Window of Death” syndrome and various other instability that I only boot that partition when I need to look at something to help someone else. An HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez that came preloaded with Vista Home Premium, and is actually the most “usable” of the three, but then it has an AMD Athlon Neo CPU and Radeon HD graphics, so it doesn’t really fit in the classic “netbook” category. Oh, and in addition, when I let it try to install Vista SP2, it thrashes around for a couple of hours and then informs me that the installation failed. Excellent.

The point is, all three of those netbooks, which came with Vista, “should” have been returned as unusable, but in fact have been “saved” and made very useful by having Linux loaded on them. So while we are bandying about unsubstantiated numbers, let me add one more to the mix. My information, which was given directly to me by “a source who asked not to be named”, indicates that 36.82% of netbooks which are purchased with Windows, regardless of whether it was XP, Vista or Vista with Lipstick (Windows 7), have in fact been wiped and reloaded with Linux, and thus should be counted as Windows “returns”.

By the way, the nice term for “information from a source who asked not to be named” is unsubstantiated rumor. There are other more accurate, but less nice, names for it.

Have a nice day.

The FUD being addressed above came from a source of other FUD, Microsoft's Kevin Turner. One has to watch out for those who take a leading role in propaganda against GNU/Linux. This is done by seeding and disseminating lies. Here is an entirely new FUD piece intended just to smear Linux based on cost (the “TCO” talking point Microsoft always uses). Scroll down to the bottom and see the author’s disclosure.

Novell Ignored Staff’s Own Advice Before Selling Out to Microsoft

Posted in Audio/Video, Deals, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jeremy Allison

Summary: An excellent new audiocast covers lesser known facts about Novell’s deal with Microsoft

JEREMY Allison, whom we interviewed shortly after he had left Novell in protest, has just done a session with the SFLC where he talks about events predating the Microsoft deal. According to the audio (playable below), Allison was sent an early copy of Novell’s deal with Microsoft, which he said was like passing a crayon over section 7 of the GPL (v2). Allison resisted it, but the lawyers ignored his feedback anyway and requested deletion of the trail.

Here is the original page, which includes in its index:

* Jeremy discussed that he resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft/Novell deal. (19:33)

The main new item there is Novell’s treatment of antagonism. The legal team patronised an expert advice, so what was it sharing a draft for? A pursuit for endorsement and “yes men”? Based on the bogus survey, that is a possibility.

Nicaragua is Moving to GNU/Linux for Independence

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Nicaragua

Summary: Schools across Nicaragua are the latest part of this nation which is being digitally liberated

WE already know that Microsoft loves to sabotage migrations to GNU/Linux globally, but recent examples from South America might include Argentina [1, 2] and Brazil’s schools [1, 2]. One of the hottest growth regions for GNU/Linux has been central and southern America, but Microsoft keep planning a coup or two.

We finally learn that Nicaraguan schools are poised to go for GNU/Linux, much like some neighbouring countries. It’s looking very real and it already materialises to an extent.

20,000 laptops for teachers with Guardabarranco GNU/Linux pre-installed will be deployed in the first phase of this project, followed by the installation of the system in computer labs in public schools using LTSP.

There are some other migrations to GNU/Linux in Nicaragua, with English references from the past year or so at the bottom.
[1] Nicaragua Builds An Innovative Agricultural Information System Using Open Source Software

An experiment in Nicaragua shows just how powerful Open Source software can be in leveling the playing field. The second poorest country of the Americas now has one of the best software solutions for displaying agricultural data in the western hemisphere.

[2] Flying on the wings of freedom

Guardabarranco is the national bird of Nicaragua. It’s also the name of a public school that migrated to GNU/Linux back in 2005.

[3] Nicaragua: Open Source Software in Public Institutions

The blogger LEOGG has been working with public institutions to take full advantage of these technologies in order to make them more efficient. In his post “Nicaragua Libre” (Free Nicaragua), LEOGG  explains how they helped Jalapa, a rural town near the border of Honduras in the north of the country how to develop and use Linux-based software.

[4] Mandriva Linux Community Newsletter #129

One of the strengths of Mandriva has long been its popularity and strong community base all around the world, in areas not always considered by the mainstream Linux press. Continuing this fine tradition, June 14th saw a Mandriva installfest and conference in Nicaragua, arranged by the Nicaraguan Mandriva user community. The event was well-attended, and even had press coverage in a popular Nicaraguan newspaper (link in Spanish). Many people brought their systems to have Mandriva Linux installed, and many copies of Mandriva Linux Free and One were distributed to those who couldn’t bring their systems to the event.

[5] Nicaragua is using mandriva!!

We would like to have support from our friends around the world. Thank you, it would be good if you visit us, help us with new material and tell latin users that we have a portal in Nicaragua.

[6] 2008 Linux Nicaragua Tour

While many today see Linux as a “just download it” or “just buy it” product, it hasn’t always been that way. Installfests were actually the norm. Well, that’s what is happening in Nicaragua. I received the following announcement in email—not from a geek mailing list but from the list of a social rights activists.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 25th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Links 25/11/2009: KDE Branding Redone, KOffice 2.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Robots for Grandma and Grandpa

    Several residents expressed opposition to the robot having a human face. To accommodate this, Charlie has a touch screen instead, standing at 10.4 inches. While his his user interface runs Windows — go with what the seniors might know, we suppose — Carlie is Open Source at heart. His hardware is controlled by a Linux system, which no doubt will prove useful when the machine uprising comes.

  • MSU Gives Michigan Works $200K For IT Training

    Michigan State University has awarded Capital Area Michigan Works $200,000 for immediate information technology training in Linux.

  • Events

    • LCA 2010: The art of the matter

      Buchanan is the creative designer for the Wellington conference which is being held from January 18 to 23. Apart from the conference website, every other graphic used in the conference has been created by her.

      “The creative design is something that has had a lot of input from the team from the beginning,” she told iTWire in an interview. “I didn’t design the website, but pretty much any other graphic associated with the conference was designed by me.”

      The conference T-shirts generally long outlive any LCA – delegates will thus have Buchanan’s designs with them long after the conference is over.

    • Combining Flexibility with Control: Managing the “Complexity Hell” of Customized Linux

      Join this timely webinar to hear from some of the foremost Linux innovators on what it takes to achieve flexibility and control in low-cost and scalable management of customized Linux platforms. Presenters include:

      * Erik Troan, founder & CTO of rPath, Inc.; first engineer and former VP of Engineering at Red Hat
      * Lee Thompson, former chief technologist, eTrade Financial
      * Bryan Richard, Editor-in-Chief, Linux Magazine

    • Expanding Career Options with Linux

      Linux is used extensively in the following:
      • TV set top boxes, flat screen TVs, digital cameras, consumer electronics.
      • the automotive industry, the aeronautics industry, the military.
      • the NYSE uses Linux for critical trades and transactions.
      • dynamic web page design and content management systems.
      • search engines and social networking sites

  • Desktop

    • Five reasons Google Chrome OS Security Wins

      Google’s Chrome OS has many virtues. Based on a solid foundation of Ubuntu Linux, it uses the Chrome Web browser as its interface to any and all applications. Chrome OS is also not so much a Windows replacement, as it’s an attempt to get rid of the entire traditional idea of a PC desktop. If Google is successful with this, one big reason will be its vastly improved security.

    • Linux in 5 Easy Steps

      2. Download Ubuntu 9.10 – Everyone agrees that Ubuntu Linux is the great Windows contender, especially for those who are new to Linux. Go to the Ubuntu Downloads page to download your free copy. The download is large (~600MB) so it might take a while, so be patient.

    • Chrome OS

      • Chrome OS: a first look

        If Google delivers on its promises for Chrome OS, then it has a very good chance of becoming the dominant force in netbooks at around the same time that Android starts to mature. That will be a very different world to today.

      • Chrome OS boots in mere seconds from USB key

        Once Google Chrome OS is made available on partnered netbook devices, we can see a new love affair starting. The new operating system from Google is both simple and fast, and once all the bugs are ironed out, will be a match for Windows.

      • Where is Google Chrome leading us?

        If Google can make it as easy as turning on the machine and get to working, or playing immediately and there is little to no thought about installing apps or configuring drivers, etc.. They will have a gold mine. People want simple.

  • Server

    • Today’s supercomputers: far greater than the sum of their parts

      A few years later, the follow-on generation of supercomputers was built in a similar fashion from x86 processors running Linux.

      Welcome to innovation, 21st Century style. A couple of months ago, I posted some observations about innovation coming from low-cost and conveniently available parts — part of the formula for success for our era: “Good enough” may be good enough when it comes to developing new products and services.

  • Kernel Space

    • Matthew Tippet, ex-AMD Linux guru joins Palm

      Linux community knows Matthew Tippet for years, since he was one of big pushers for ATI Linux drivers and put a lot of personal and professional effort in improving functionality of ATI hardware on Linux operating system. Also, Matthew was one of co-founders of Phoronix Test Suite, probably the best test suite for Linux operating system out there.

    • EX AMD linux guru joins Palm

      I sent him an email this morning to wish him the best of luck with his move and I hope Palm are able to use his wealth of knowledge to improve their products.

    • The Cost Of ATI Kernel Mode-Setting On Fedora 12

      One of the articles on Phoronix last week was entitled Intel Linux Graphics Shine With Fedora 12, which showed off the nice state of Intel graphics on this latest Red Hat release when it came to kernel mode-setting and its 3D stack with it working well “out of the box” and offering some nice performance gains over the earlier Fedora 10 and Fedora 11 releases. While the Intel stack may be improved in Constantine, the ATI support has taken a hit, as users were quick to point out in response to last week’s article. In particular, when using the ATI kernel mode-setting driver in Fedora 12 (which is the default for pre-R600 hardware), there is a large performance discrepancy compared to using the traditional user-space mode-setting for ATI Radeon hardware. Today we are looking at what exactly the performance cost is for using ATI KMS in this new release.


    • NVIDIA Pushes Out 195.22 Beta Linux Driver

      Further enriching VDPAU continues to be a core focus of NVIDIA’s developers and with the 195.22 release there are enhancements to the VDPAU blit-based presentation queue, updated VDPAU to improve thread concurrency (this could help the GStreamer-Cairo developers, modified the install location of the VDPAU libraries (see the recent libvdpau release), a define for VDPAU_INTERFACE_VERSION, and a fix for a periodic temporary hang in the VDPAU blit-based presentation queue. The main new feature for VDPAU though with the 195.xx series is that the Video Decode and presentation API for Unix now allows multiple streams to be decoded at once.

    • BSD

      • NVIDIA 64-bit FreeBSD Beta Driver By Year’s End

        With the FreeBSD 8.0 release now available, we reached out to NVIDIA to find out the status of their 64-bit BSD display driver, now that this operating system carries the necessary mmap extension support in their 64-bit kernel for their proprietary graphics driver to function. Andy Ritger, who heads the user-space side of NVIDIA’s UNIX Graphics Driver team and was previously interviewed by Phoronix, provided a brief update.

      • Finally, FreeBSD 8.0 Released

        FreeBSD 8.0 is available from their (FTP server), while we still have been waiting on an official release announcement. Details on some of the FreeBSD 8.0 features can be found from this web-page. Information on the FreeBSD 8.0 release process can be found on the FreeBSD Wiki.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Docky Separates from GNOME Do, Still a Clever Linux App Dock

      Linux: Application launcher GNOME Do has a “theme” called Docky that we dubbed an intelligent Linux interface. Now Docky is its own (alpha-level) application, bringing many of its best features over and setting the stage for many more.

    • KDE

      • Repositioning the KDE Brand

        KDE has changed over the past 13 years. The application framework has grown, matured and gone cross-platform, as have the applications. Strong growth in our community has created an increasingly diverse and large set of high-quality applications.

        In the process, KDE’s identity has shifted from being simply a desktop environment to representing a global community that creates a remarkably rich body of free software targeted for use by people everywhere.

      • Why the rebranding?

        So now the Dot article is out with my name on it (that’s just an accident really as I was the guy who first imported our draft text in to the Dot) It is supposed to provide a concise, readable, but far from comprehensive summary of the “Repositioning the KDE brand” document that Cornelius put together after a lot of discussion.

      • Finally: rebranding KDE

        Don’t worry: most of it will sound familiar, we have changed our communication over the past year to fit the new branding. But some of it will be new. After years of discussing this and consulting the wider community (both by contacting key figures by personal mail and by discussing it on kde-devel, for example) it was time to move. We have made decisions (many of them at the recent marketing meeting), and yes, you could debate them. Please don’t. Dark blue or light blue bikeshed, it does not matter.

      • KDE Community Repositions Brand, Releases KOffice 2.1

        The leadership of the KDE community says it has decided to change the KDE brand’s focus being an open-source Linux desktop to being an overall open-source community. Meanwhile, Version 2.1 of KOffice, the office suite for KDE, is released.

      • KOffice 2.1 Released

        The KOffice team is very happy to announce version 2.1.0 of KOffice, 6 months after the platform release 2.0.0. This release brings a number of new features as well as general improvements in the maturity of the individual applications. Importing of documents have also been given an overhaul.

      • How to Install KDE in Windows

        For over a decade, KDE has supplied Linux and Unix users with a graphical desktop environment and a suite of useful applications. It has become one of the most popular desktop environments and is the default on many Linux distributions. With the coming of KDE 4, developers promised native KDE applications running on Windows. While the current release is still not ready for production, as of KDE 4.3.3, it is coming closer and worth trying. What follows is a brief guide to getting KDE running on Windows.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora 12 Pushes Bleeding Edge of Linux Networking

        Moving forward, Frields sees users moving to Fedora, and to open source software in general, as an alternative to proprietary software that isn’t keeping pace.

        “We’re being assisted by the fact that proprietary software is not getting better at the pace that people expect,” Frields said. “People expect an increasing rate of evolution and proprietary software is not capable of sustaining that rate. That is driving people to look for alternatives.”

      • The Live CD/DVD of Scientific Linux 5.4 Is Out

        Announced three weeks ago, the Scientific Linux 5.4 operating system brought improved support for Atheros wireless chipsets, the iwlwifi 5150 ucode firmware, updated iwlwifi 4945, 3945, and 5000 ucode, the Lua programming language and lots of updated packages & numerous bug fixes. Last night (November 24th), Urs Beyerle announced the immediate availability of the Live CD and Live DVD editions of this Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4-based distribution created by scientists for scientists. The Live CD/DVD is available for the i386 and x86_64 architectures and it allows users to run Scientific Linux directly from the CD/DVD media.

    • Debian Family

      • Can Ubuntu reach over 16,000 anime lovers in April?

        Can Ubuntu reach over 16,000 anime lovers in April? Of course it can, with the support of the rapidly expanding super mega-awesome community (that’s you all)!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 on SSD

        I’ve been thinking about replacing the hard disk on my production notebook with a solid-state disk (SSD) for quite a while. So when I stumbled upon a good offer on Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD I decided to take the plunge. 64GB is a far cry from the modest by today’s standards 160GB hard disk on my notebook. But since I store all my files on a Bubba Two server, I rarely use more than 15-20GB anyway. The Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD model is available in several versions, including a so-called notebook kit. It’s slightly more expensive than the disk itself, but it’s well worth a few extra bucks. The notebook kit includes hard disk cloning software (which is, obviously, of no use on Linux) and a hard disk enclosure. The latter is a very handy addition, as you can use it to convert the replaced hard disk into an external USB drive. So I pulled the old hard disk out of the notebook, inserted it into the enclosure, and moved files and profiles to the freshly installed SSD. The entire procedure of installing the SSD and moving the files took no longer than half an hour.

      • Retirement of the lpia architecture
      • Jolicloud “Robby” Beta To Ship WIth Linux 2.6.32

        In early September we featured an article on Jolicloud Linux, which sought to provide innovations atop Ubuntu Netbook Remix by enriching the experience for cloud computing and through their Jolicloud service to have easy access to various web-based applications. At that time we were seeded with an early alpha build of Jolicloud, but this morning (just a day after we published the first Chrome OS benchmarks), their CEO has provided us with a pre-beta copy of Jolicloud (codenamed “Robby”).

      • Interview with developer of T.O.S.S Linux distribution

        TCE, or Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai is one of Tamil Nadu’s finest Educational Institutions. In an organization that uses Debian as it’s OS of choice, two students Sowmy Narayan and Sarvesh Ghautham have rolled out their own version of an Ubuntu clone.

      • Ubuntu: Time for Another Reality Check

        So by some measures and opinions, Ubuntu and Canonical do not represent the best of the free-software world. But despite all this, Ubuntu has succeeded in an important area where every other distribution has failed–specifically, in expanding the image of Linux and free software to unprecedented heights.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • HPC Project Joins the Scilab Consortium

    The Scilab Consortium, created with the ambition of making Scilab the open source reference in numerical computation, and the company HPC Project are pleased to announce that the latter is now a member of the Consortium.

  • Forum Functions for Open-Source E-Commerce Platform

    Forum functionality is now available for Open Source eCommerce platform Magento through integration with vBulletin – the major Open Source forum publishing software. The extension that provides close integration between the two platforms was developed and released by AITOC, Inc. this November.

  • Information sources for documenting free software

    To take advantage of the information available, you need a reasonable grasp of the written language. Contrary to the impression that many salaried technical writers give, you do not necessarily need to know how to parse a sentence or be a wizard at the black arts of grammar. Text that requires minimal editing is always an asset, but free software documentation is a communal effort. If you’re lucky, another documenter can compensate for your less than perfect syntax.

  • As Boxee Grows, It Should Remember Two Things

    Boxee is having a big announcement in New York on December 7th. It will be interesting to see what comes of that, and what lies ahead next year as Boxee woos hardware makers.

  • Open source has not reached apex

    Fast forward to the present and open source is indeed on the rise–most notably in the mobile industry, for example, where handset makers are falling over themselves to embrace new open source OSes such as Google’s Android and Maemo, while the more established Symbian OS continues to shift millions of units every quarter.

    “Some years ago there was practically no open source in the mobile and telecoms space, today there is. So that’s a major new land win for open source,” Mickos said.

  • Mail/Communication

    • OpenEMM 6.0 email marketing software released

      The OpenEMM developers have announced the availability of version 6.0 of their open source email marketing and newsletter application. OpenEMM 6.0, the open source version of AGNITAS AG’s E-Marketing Manager, includes several updates, improvements in the web interface and in usability and some new features.

    • Open-Xchange integrates Facebook, Twitter with e-mail inbox

      Open-source collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange plans to open its e-mail inbox to messages from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    • Review: Goggle Wave so far

      Since I’m all about making improvements, I clicked the link to accept my invitation to Google Wave. Once I signed in with my handy dandy Google account (OK, so I’m going a little overboard here), Google Wave opened in my Firefox browser.

  • Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Better Copy/Paste with Firefox

        QuoteURLText and Copy Plain Text are not the most advanced Firefox extensions out there, but they sure can save you a lot of time if you do a lot of copying and pasting from Web pages to other documents. As any Firefox user knows, the copy operation grabs not only the selected text fragment but also all the formatting. In most cases, however, all you want is the text itself without all the formatting silliness. Sure, most applications let you strip the pasted text of formatting, but this just adds one more unnecessary step

      • Firefox hopes to one-up IE with fast graphics

        But the day of Microsoft’s demo, Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard had this to tweet: “Interesting that we’re doing Direct2D support in Firefox as well–I’ll bet we’ll ship it first.”

      • Exploiting the portable edition of Firefox

        For the absolute best security, I previously suggested booting a copy of Linux off a USB flash drive, SD memory card or CD, and running Firefox from within Linux. This remains, in my opinion, the safest option. But, the hassle factor is much higher than simply running another copy of Firefox from within Windows. Your choice.

    • Google

  • CMS

    • Alfresco leading on CMIS standard

      Alfresco has beaten its rivals to the chase by incorporating the new content management interoperability standard (CMIS) into its Community 3.2 edition product.

    • ImpressPages Web CMS, Open Source and Simple

      Lots of Web CMS offerings claim to make things easier, but a first look at the demo of ImpressPages shows something that anyone can get their brains and mouse around. PHP-powered and using SQL 5, there isn’t a great deal to the CMS yet, but its interface shows a lot of potential.

  • Business

    • Crossroads in FOSS Projects: Some Business Considerations

      At our Seminar last month, Managing FOSS to Lower Costs and Achieve Business Results, several participants asked about the dynamics of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) projects that reach a crossroads (a failure, a merger, loss of key personnel, etc). I had not expected that concern because with commercial software, it seems to me, the problem is more severe. When you have the source code and the right to modify and redistribute it, the source gives many more options (and its freedoms provide many more protections) than when commercial software goes bankrupt or gets bought by a competitor for instance.

  • Government

    • Open source revolution in the public sector

      I was asked two very interesting questions by a thoughtful technical architect who worked for a major Local Authority who now, like many many others in this sector, wanted to know more about open source software.

      He wanted to know, in the light of the Government’s well-publicised new found enthusiasm for open source software, whether I thought they would all be using open source software in ten year’s time and if so when and how would it all happen?

  • Openness

    • ‘Openness is not the enemy of quality,’ Wikipedia founder says

      What is unique about Wikipedia is that it is an almost entire construct of the internet and is edited publicly. Built entirely on open-source software, it was spawned out of a project Wales called Nupedia, and eventually grew as volunteers, writers and editors contributed articles. By 2007 it had passed the 2-million article mark – eclipsing the 1,407 Yongle Encylopaedia, which held the record for 600 years.

      Today, the site receives between 25,000 and 60,000 page requests per second and gets an estimated 330 million unique visitors per month.

    • What open source can teach medical practice

      An open source attitude toward that data, within the realm of science and throughout the medical community, can help patients gain access to the benefits of that data and answer the question they ask — what should I do?

  • Programming

    • Eclipse 4 goes a mile further

      A graphical user interface (GUI) generated via an XML dialect, a concept already previously demonstrated by Mozilla years ago, is to become part of the next version of the free Eclipse development environment. Casually called “e4″, the second milestone of the fourth version of Eclipse, has just been released.


  • Court Kills ‘Round-The-Clock’ Surveillance Case

    That’s what a federal appeals court is telling Scott Tooley of Kentucky in dismissing his civil rights lawsuit. Tooley believes the government put him under blanket surveillance after he said the word bomb to an airline agent.

  • British cops arrest people just to add them to the DNA database, claims inquiry

    Britain’s cops have the largest DNA database in the world, and it’s full of innocent people who were arrested but not charged, or charged but not convicted (the EU’s Court of Human Rights have ordered this practice to stop, but the cops refuse to comply with the law — their latest dodge is to keep innocents’ DNA for six years). Now an inquiry that begins today claims that police are “routinely arresting people” that they know they can’t convict of any crime, simply to get their DNA into the database.

  • Environment

    • Global body needed to direct green technology, G77 says

      A green technology body with powers to direct a worldwide transition away from a high-carbon economy is needed to combat climate change, according to the world’s developing nations. While most negotiations ahead of the UN’s climate change summit in Copenhagen next month have been concerned with which nations should slash greenhouse gas emissions and by how much, the method in which these cuts will be achieved has received far less attention. Yet the importance of green technology – from wind turbines to electric cars to zero-carbon buildings – is enormous.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Rise in e-book piracy: One more reason to DITCH Digital Rights Management

      Pirates find easy new pickings in open waters of e-book publishing is the headline of a Times piece in the U.K. As reported there:

      –American publishers have lost “more than $600 million” to piracy, by one estimate.

      –Readers downloaded illegal copies of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol “more than 100,000 times” within days.

    • Advertisers say new cookie law met by browser settings

      Advertising trade bodies have claimed that a new law passed this week by the European Parliament will not require website publishers to ask permission to put cookies on a user’s computer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Senators are concerned about secret treaty

      POLITICIANS in the former British colony of Virginia are starting to wake up to the fact that its government is about to sign a secret treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that will give sweeping powers to the movie and music businesses to lock up filesharers.

    • Industry FAIL: Four Musical Mistakes Of The Decade

      The practice of record companies paying radio DJs to play specific records is an old one — and an illegal one since 1960. So major record-label interests simply employed “independent promoters,” complete with scare-quotes, to bribe stations and their employees with vacations, new clothes, illegal drugs — the usual. A pre-punchline Eliot Spitzer, then New York’s attorney general, launched a massive investigation into the issue, eventually winning settlements totaling more than $25 million from three of the four major recording companies. Not only was this a terrible financial and publicity burden, but in today’s commercial radio climate, the labels’ songs — especially those from major artists — likely would have been played anyway.

    • Rin Tin Tin court win

      Nu Image and First Look Studios have won a legal dogfight over using the name Rin Tin Tin in the kidpic “Finding Rin Tin Tin: the Adventure Continues.”

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