07.27.10

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Links 27/7/2010: Dell Restores and Expands Ubuntu Offerings (US), Linux Quality Assurance

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Is Linux Just Another Unix Flavor?

    What defines an operating system isn’t a geeky label or a collection of ramblings from the mouths of its community members. Nor is it some empty and pointless certification offered up by an obscure group of malcontented purveyors of “standards.”

    [...]

    You might also ask, “With how much certainty can you guarantee that my applications will make that same transition?” Red Hat, Novell and Canonical can give the best answers, but their consultants will tell you that only in rare cases will your applications have trouble making the trip from your Unix environment to a Linux-hosted one. Rest assured that your issues aren’t so unique that their highly skilled Linux engineers can’t tackle them.

    Unix has different “flavors” that generally refer to differences injected by their development teams to take advantage of proprietary hardware features or to capitalize on special software innovations, such as volume management or virtualization. Such flavors are Sun’s Solaris, IBM’s AIX, HP’s HP-UX, AT&T’s System Vr4, BSD Unix, DEC Unix, Mac OS X, and the beloved SCO Unix.

  • Washing the windows myths. Program installation.

    Meanwhile Zaphod has finished his work for now and decides to play a game to relax. He opens up his software manager (similar to Apple’s app store) and finds a game he likes. After selecting it and clicking on install he goes away for a drink of something that is almost but not quite like tea. When he comes back with the steaming mug in his hands, Zaphod is pleased to find that his new game has been installed and is ready to play. Putting the mug next to the keyboard Zaphod immerses himself into the game.

    [...]

    So anyone who states that installing programs under windows is easier than under Linux is obviously showing their lack of knowledge and inability to look at the true state of affairs.

  • Why Ubuntu Linux Is a Good Business Choice

    Let’s first consider Ubuntu as a replacement for your Windows desktop or laptop operating system. Computer owners generally use an Internet browser, a word processing program, the occasional spreadsheet, an email application and almost nothing else. These computer owners may not realize that they’re paying $150 to $300 for the OS and another $300 or more for the office suite–most of which they’ll never use. Why add hundreds of dollars to a computer system that has a life expectancy of three to four years?

  • Get a Blazing Fast Computer for Free

    Still, I thought that Mark Shuttleworth, the software entrepreneur who founded the Ubuntu project, was onto a good thing. In a world of cloud-based apps, there are fewer and fewer substantive differences between Windows and the Mac OS—since I can easily shuttle my data and programs between different computers, I rarely find myself wishing for one OS when I’m on another. If Ubuntu’s designers could iron out some of its kinks, I thought, a free operating system could fit perfectly in this new, OS-agnostic world.

    Well, I think they’ve done it. I made a second foray onto Ubuntu’s shores a week ago, and so far, I like it quite a bit. The OS has progressed a great deal since I last checked in (in 2008 I installed version 8.04; now I’m running version 10.04). I found Ubuntu quick to install, speedy to do pretty much everything, and, thankfully, very easy to figure out. There were some rough edges; for instance, Ubuntu’s designers ought to make some of its error messages more comprehensible to newbies. While installing Skype, I was informed that a “later version is available in a software channel. You are strongly advised to install the version from the software channel, since it is usually better supported.” I’m pretty sure that could have been translated to, “Click ‘Next’ to install a newer version of Skype.” For the most part, though, Ubuntu has broken free of technical mumbo jumbo, and if you’ve got a little bit of tech savvy, you’ll have no problem dealing with it.

  • Desktop

    • Prettier Fonts Coming Your Way

      There was a time when Linux was notorious for having what was called “fugly” fonts. Things improved a bit over the years, but thanks to expiring patents things are about to get even better.

    • Calm down! Dell is not throwing Ubuntu Linux out!

      Jeeze, people, one guy has trouble ordering Ubuntu Linux on a Dell laptop over the weekend and it’s Ubuntugeddon. Chill. Ubuntu is still going to be offered by Dell.

    • Dell Preparing Ubuntu 10.04 Linux Systems

      Plenty of folks are confused about Dell’s commitment to Ubuntu, the Linux distribution promoted by Canonical. In recent days, old rumors about Dell abandoning Ubuntu have returned. But in reality, Dell indicates it is preparing to ship systems with Ubuntu 10.04 — the most recent Ubuntu release — within the next few weeks. Here’s the reality check.

    • Dell expands Ubuntu Linux desktop offerings

      The latest panic in desktop-Linux-land was that Dell would no longer be selling Ubuntu pre-installed on laptops and netbooks. Alas, for those who love drama, it wasn’t true. In fact, Dell is expanding its Ubuntu desktop offerings.

      Gerry Carr the marketing manager for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, told me that the stories that Dell will no longer be offering Ubuntu pre-installed on its hardware were “NOT true.” Now, Anne Camden, a Dell PR manager, tells me that far from moving away from Ubuntu Linux, Dell is offering more Ubuntu choices than ever.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Who’s responsible for troubleshooting and quality assurance?

      A change recently implemented in kernel 2.6.35 shows how developers from different companies collaborate on the kernel, what good support contracts with Linux distributors are, and how commercial interests influence the development of Linux and troubleshooting. The change was made by Red Hat’s DRM subsystem maintainer Dave Arlie to solve some stability problems and prevent crashes that reportedly occurred on a lot of systems with Intel’s 945GM, which was launched in 2006 and is mainly used in notebooks.

  • Applications

    • Games

      • 6 most talked about Linux games

        In your quest to find a good, native and free game for Linux you might have seen long lists of games mentioned on various sites and forums. These mentioned games range anywhere from simple 2D side-scrollers to impressive 3D shooters. The amount of Linux games is surprising and can be a tid bit overwhelming. So, how do you pick out the games that are actually worth your time? Well, I’ve compiled a small list of some of the most talked about games for Linux on the internet. Have a read and see if any of these catch your eye.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Forking KDE 3: Trinity KDE’s Timothy Pearson

        A long time developer with Kubuntu, Ubuntu’s KDE variant, Pearson describes himself as “an electrical engineer specializing in embedded systems and RF [Radio Frequency] by day, and an open source programmer by night.”

        Pearson first discovered free and open source software in 2001 as an alternative to Windows, but at first used it only for servers, judging the desktop as not ready for general use. Later, though, he discovered Kubuntu and KDE 3.5, “and was blown away by the powerful but user friendly interface, as well as the fast Debian packaging system. Shortly thereafter I replaced all my Red hat and Windows XP installations with Kubuntu, never looking back.”

        With such an attitude, Pearson was blindsided by the release of KDE 4.0 in January 2008.

        “KDE 4 kind of snuck up on me,” he writes. “I had assumed that the new software coming from KDE was going to be along the same lines as KDE 3.5. I tried using KDE 4 for a few days and just could not stand the interface; my productivity plummeted and I seriously considered going back to Windows. The only thing that kept me from doing that was the sheer expense of deploying Windows Server across multiple environments.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud as a Second Netbook OS – It Plays Well With Windows

        Back in March, we broke the news that Jolicloud had released their Pre-Final build. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Jolicloud is a customized version of Linux Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE). It’s designed to be an easy and trouble-free operating system for almost all netbooks. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally had time to install Jolicloud and try it out on my HP Mini netbook. I’ll give you some details and screenshots from my brief time exploring Jolicloud.

        [...]

        If you need a simple, fast, secure and visually pleasing OS on your netbook, this one will be hard to beat. The express install option is a big winner, making it one of the easiest Linux OS’s to install. For those with more Linux experience, you might want to stick with Ubuntu Netbook Edition. It’s much more flexible but definitely more difficult for newbies. I believe that Jolicloud will continue to bring good news to netbook users who may not want to be chained to Microsoft Windows.

      • Hands on: Jolicloud 1.0, a Linux distro in progress

        Jolicloud 1.0 is a new edition of Linux aimed at nontechnical netbook users that’s described this way by its makers: “[It] is not a traditional OS. It was built for netbook users to leverage the cloud and make their life easier.” Think of it as a variant on the Google Chrome OS approach: This Internet operating system, as the company calls it, is little more than a Web browser plus a few other supporting technologies.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The 75 “Funnest” Open Source Downloads

    It’s summer. And frankly, that means no one’s all that excited about working. Oh goodness no.

    In honor of the season of laziness, we’ve put together a list of some of the most fun open source downloads you can find. No, none of those office productivity tools here – just lots of games, hobbyists’ tools and other time wasters. Is it quitting time yet?

    In case you’re feeling too lazy to read all the way through the article, the very “funnest” apps – the games – are at the beginning. The rest are categorized and in alphabetical order.

    I should probably write some more about the list here, but – you know – it’s summer.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Is Oracle trying to kill VirtualBox?

      It seems Oracle is hellbent on destroying whatever good Sun had done to the Open Source Ecosystem. The latest product to get the axe seems to be none other than the Flagship Virtualization program xVM VirtualBox.

  • Education

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuTLS 2.10.1 released

      GnuTLS is a modern C library that implements the standard network security protocol Transport Layer Security (TLS), for use by network applications. GnuTLS is developed for GNU/Linux, but works on many Unix-like systems and comes with a binary installer for Windows.

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenDocument 1.2 available for review for 60 days

      If it goes through, the standard will then be presented to the interdisciplinary ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) to be ratified as the current version of the ISO 26300 standard. OASIS is in charge of maintaining this standard, and its stated aim is to promote the interoperability, that is the ability to exchange documents, between different office suites.

Leftovers

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Ofcom calls for clarity in broadband speed ads

      Britons are not getting the broadband services they are being sold, research by the regulator Ofcom suggests.

      Its analysis of broadband speeds in the UK shows that, for some services, 97% of consumers do not get the advertised speed.

Clip of the Day

Sen. Franken: Stop the Corporate Takeover of the Media


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