08.17.10

Links 17/8/2010: Multitouch Linux, X.Org Gesture Extension, Texas Memory Joins Linux Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • ARM backs Linux server chip start-up

    A US start-up chipmaker called Smooth-Stone has raised tens of millions of dollars to develop and sell ARM-based processors for servers, which ARM says will likely run Linux.

  • 5 Free or Open NAS Servers

    Here we’ll look at five different NAS servers provided by the open source community…

  • Free Linux-Based 2X CloudClient OS Achieves VMware Ready(TM) Certification
  • Treasury, Linux Australia collaborate on tax tools

    The Australian Treasury has begun working with Linux Australia to make its AUSkey and Standard Business Reporting (SBR) systems compatible with open source platforms.

  • Server

    • A Map to Your Nearest Data Center

      In preparation for the launch of its new backup and migration tool, Turnkey Linux has done some work to automate selection of the nearest regional data center.

    • IBM Unleashes 256-core Unix Server, Its Biggest Yet

      The Power 795 is IBM’s biggest Unix server to date. It’s aimed at companies that run large-scale database applications or want to consolidate multiple Unix or Linux workloads onto a single system using IBM’s PowerVM virtualization software.

  • Google

  • Multitouch

  • Kernel Space

    • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Texas Memory Systems has become its newest member.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD updates ATI Stream Software Development Kit

        The development platform brings a range of tools to the developer community including support for OpenCL 1.1, in addition to Ubuntu 10.04 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5.

      • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Development Effort
      • Introducing The X.Org Gesture Extension

        Earlier this morning Canonical had announced the UTouch Framework, which is their multi-touch framework to be formally introduced with Ubuntu 10.10. Canonical developers crafted up their own multi-touch solution and even their own gesture language for Ubuntu, rather than leveraging any similar free software projects, but — to some surprise — it turns out they are now going to try to engage with upstream developers to at least have a formalized extension to the X.Org Server for gestures.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE & GNOME cross-desktop development

      Fortunately, you can take care of this yourself, thanks to the Portland Project. Portland is a joint OSDL/freedesktop.org initiative to provide developers with stable APIs for desktop Linux and other free desktop platforms.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMyMoney Team Announces First Platform 4 Release

        The KMyMoney team is pleased to announce the release of the first stable version built on KDE Platform 4. With over 15 months of development, this is the starting point for a series of KMyMoney versions leveraging the stellar features offered by the new Platform.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 110

        · Announced Distro: VectorLinux 6.0 SOHO Edition
        · Announced Distro: Untangle Gateway Platform 7.4
        · Announced Distro: Salix OS 13.1.1
        · Announced Distro: Puppy Linux 5.1

        [...]

      • Texas Memory Systems Joins Linux Development Effort

        After more than a year of development, developer Tom Kerremans has announced the release of version 3.4 of the Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK). TRK is a Live distribution – bootable via a LiveCD, LiveUSB or over a network – that’s based on Mandriva Linux and is specifically aimed at recovery and repair operations for both Windows and Linux systems. For example, it includes a number of tools for recovering deleted files, resetting passwords and cloning drives.

      • Trinity Rescue Kit 3.4 Comes with Linux Kernel 2.6.35

        Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) 3.4 has been released after more than a year of development. TRK is a Live CD distro aimed at rescue and repair tasks on both Windows and Linux PCs. TRK 3.4 comes with the latest Linux kernel 2.6.35 and quite a number of new features.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Linux light – PCLinuxOS 2010.7 Openbox

        So this edition is a bit of a mixed bag. With plenty of apps it is a good base as is or if you want to add a more cut down custom KDE or Gnome installation, but it’s probably best for fans of Openbox who would like to create their own custom spin with MKLiveCD for the road. In these few days I have come to appreciate the simple elegance and functionality of this window manager when paired with tint2, and the PCLOS utilities help administration. There were no dead menu entries and the menu updated every time I installed an application, like emelfm2 for better file management options. Performance was quite good too (responsive unless opening the Control Center) and I can’t find anything else to complain about, except maybe the branding and the ugly included wallpapers. But this is, with no menu buttons, not as prevalent as in the versions with the major desktop environments, and Gdm theme and wallpaper are quickly changed. Most important to me, my wireless Ralink worked without any fuss while running from CD. Once installed, it lost connection to my WPA2 encrypted network a few times, but these teething problems quickly seemed to disappear and did not reoccur after a cold boot, and once again all was well. Nothing is perfect, and while other distributions may not suffer the problems I have discovered, most are also more difficult to set up in the first place. As always, you make your choice.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Wipro partners with Red Hat

        Wipro, a provider of IT services, has partnered with Red Hat, a provider of open source solutions. The two companies have strengthened their strategic partnership through joint marketing and integration opportunities designed to bring open source solutions to enterprises across India.

      • CirtexHosting Adds CloudLinux to All Servers

        CirtexHosting, a leader in Linux Web hosting, today announced it has added CloudLinux on all hosting servers, which is designed to increase server stability and prevent downtime, ultimately improving performance for customers.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Artwork Progressing!

          Time is running short for us to iterate this wallpaper for Fedora 14 Beta! Want to try your hand? All of the sources are available, and it’s a great excuse to try out Blender if you haven’t gotten a chance to yet. :) Not up for working on the design, but have some feedback you’d like to share? Join the conversation on the design-team mailing list, or drop your feedback in the wiki or in this blog post’s comments.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ding, ding – Sound Applet mock-ups round II

          Wyatt Kirby, whose sound applet mock-ups found favourable fandom both here and on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog, has put pixel to, er, palette and come up with a newly revised design.

          For those new to the whole ‘Sound Menu Saga’ I’ll be brief: Ubuntu 10.10 has a new sound menu which controls things like thythmbox and system volume. Some people like it & some people like it less so.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI launches 720p-ready Cortex-A8 SoC

      An evaluation module and BSP are currently offered for Linux and Android (the latter via Mentor Graphics), while Windows CE support will be available from Adeneo in the fourth quarter, says the company. RTOS versions are also under development by various vendors, says TI.

    • Tablets

      • Video: Take a Look at the $35 Tata Tablet

        The first video demonstration of the tablet prototype, above, shows that the computer will run on the Android OS instead of the rumored Linux setup. The video seems somewhat sped up, perhaps so as not to give a true indication of the using experience. And oddly enough, the tablet seems to be using a touch-stylus-interface, even for typing.

      • The Android-powered Augen GenTouch78 is no iPad

        The tablet does have some good things going for it. While it’s made from black plastic, it has a solid feel. Better still, it comes with a form-fitting, faux-leather case. I don’t know about you, but whether I pay $170 for a GenTouch78 or $500 for an Apple iPad, I appreciate getting a real cover to protect it without shelling out additional cash.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Project Snowstorm: Our New Open Development Program

    Almost two years ago, we set about revamping the Second Life Viewer and in March of this year we released Viewer 2. Over that two year period, we took a heads-down approach to our design and development process to create a Viewer that would be easier for new Residents to use. This heads-down approach meant we had very limited contact with you, and left many Residents feeling alienated. Now, we are making some big changes to better communicate with you and include you in our development process. Specifically, we’re beginning a new open-source program — known as Project Snowstorm — that will show you exactly what we’re working on and will also start to bring Resident contributions into our mainline Viewer build. We’re extremely excited to be firing up this program, and we’re confident it will lead to a better Viewer, one that benefits from the tremendous talent and creativity we’ve seen from the most committed members of our development community.

  • How corporate America went open-source

    According to recent surveys, more large companies are committing to open-source software. How the platform went from closet to corporate.

  • How open source is like a good marriage

    Zenoss’ Open Source Management Report indicates 98% of enterprises now have open source. Satisfaction with the product is growing, although support and documentation continue to lag. Half of enterprises are using cloud resources.

  • How To Find a Customer in a Divided IT Universe

    Frequently, these companies are also contributing innovation back to into the open source community. The myriad NoSQL projects are just one example of this trend. Many take things much further: modified Linux kernels, custom compilers, internally developed networking control planes, even building their own servers and switches.

  • Open software passes Australian tipping point

    Almost two in three Australian enterprises now has a policy or strategy in place regarding the use of Free Open Source Software, with just about every enterprise using elements of open source in their day to day operations.

  • Cost isn’t the only rationale for open source adoption

    “Going open source saves us $4 to $4.5 million each year in IT spending, and we have much better performance and reliability, so why wouldn’t we use it?” Simhambhatla quipped.

  • Open source software a frequent flier on Virgin America
  • Virgin America’s IT infrastructure is primarily opensource

    Virgin America is using mostly open-source software in its IT infrastructure, according to the airline’s CIO, Ravi Simhambhatla. The move from proprietary software is saving Virgin America millions of dollars, but that’s not the main reason for the transition, reports Sean Michael Kerner in an article at CIOUpdate.

  • Whisper – New Voice Solution for OpenSim

    Today, vComm Solutions of Switzerland released Whisper, a high quality voice solution for OpenSim based on the popular Mumble open source VoIP client. The key feature of this solution is that it enables avatar lip sync and speaker indication to work correctly, in addition to providing very stable, high quality voice.

  • Get App-y: Open source software not just for techies

    • Gimp.org, for photo editing. Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman’s photography director, told me about Gimp as a substitute for Photoshop, which costs about $700. Photoshop is still the industry standard, and Gimp isn’t organized as clearly as Photoshop, but the software application has the advanced photo editing features that professionals use. I can usually find the tools I need when using Gimp.

    • Scribus.net, for layout and desktop publishing. I found this through The Oklahoman’s Glen Seeber. I haven’t played around with it much. I’ll use it as an alternative to Adobe InDesign, which can cost $1,000 or more in a package.

  • Why do FLOSS developers keep ranting?

    Many of us do FLOSS coding for the ultimate glory of just doing it. Learning, filling empty days with something to do or simply because they need to feel important for somebody else (I’m pointing the finger to you, behated [my opposite of beloved] library developers).

  • Events

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Project Releases

    • Vi IMproved 7.3 Released w/ Fixes + New Features

      Marking the end of two years of development is the release of Vim (Vi Improved) version 7.3. While this is considered a minor release of Vim, there are a handful of new features along with many bug-fixes.

  • Licensing

    • Westinghouse Digital Ruling: Less than Meets the Eye

      The court ruled that Westinghouse Digital Electronics, LLC (“Westinghouse”) had infringed on the copyright in the BusyBox software by failing to comply with the terms of the GPLv2 in its distribution of the Westinghouse high definition televisions (“HDTV”). Although Westinghouse had originally “answered” the complaint, it then withdrew from participation in the suit, apparently due to financial difficulties, and ceased to respond to discovery requests from the plaintiff. If the failure to respond to discovery requests is due to “willfulness, bad faith or fault,” the court can grant a default judgment and Judge Scheidlin granted the motion. The financial problems of Westinghouse are evident through its use of the “assignment for benefit of creditors” procedure. The “assignment for benefit of creditors” is a California state law procedure similar to federal bankruptcy law to wind down companies. In this procedure, the company assigns its assets to a third party licensed by California who, then, disposes of the assets and then pays off the creditors of the company. Unlike bankruptcy law, the assignment for benefit of creditors does not “stay” litigation.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Free Parking Comes at a Price

    Many suburbanites take free parking for granted, whether it’s in the lot of a big-box store or at home in the driveway. Yet the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips. Legally mandated parking lowers the market price of parking spaces, often to zero. Zoning and development restrictions often require a large number of parking spaces attached to a store or a smaller number of spaces attached to a house or apartment block.

  • AP decides not to LOL

    The Associated Press almost shared a page with LOLcats.

    Pet Holdings Inc., which owns a network of blogs that post pictures of felines with silly captions, and videos of men getting hit in the groin on its Fail Blog, had been wrapped in rather lengthy negotiations with the Associated Press until this week.

    The talks began to stall when lawyers for the I Can Has Cheezburger proprietor were worried about wording in the contract. The Associated Press finally axed the project on concerns over “journalistic integrity,” Pet Holdings Chief Ben Huh said in an interview Monday.

    For the prestigious wire service to even consider associating itself with a business that makes a living from fan-made cat pictures may have seemed unthinkable a decade ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth’s Overdraft Notice

      According to the Global Footprint Network humanity crossed a threshold three decades ago when we stopped being able to live off of nature’s interest — “consuming resources and producing carbon dioxide at a rate lower than what the planet was able to regenerate and reabsorb each year” — and started living beyond nature’s capacity.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality protesters lay siege to Google (for an hour)

      With that, a dozen or so protesters (and Ars) rode from the city’s Opera Plaza to Mountain View, California, headquarters of Google, now fallen from grace since the release of its watered-down net neutrality manifesto with Verizon.

      The objective—to deliver 300,000 signatures protesting the move.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • uTorrent Backs Artist, Bundles Album With New Downloads

        Following in the footsteps of The Pirate Bay and the successful BitTorrent distribution platform Vodo, uTorrent has now embraced an artist of their own. Starting today, all new uTorrent downloads will be bundled with the latest album from PAZ, an up and coming musician who hopes to achieve stardom through BitTorrent.

      • Broadcast audience aging faster than population

        “It should be a concern, but it doesn’t seem to be a concern at the moment,” said Steve Sternberg, who wrote the report for Baseline Inc., an information source for the film and TV industries that is owned by The New York Times Co. “You don’t want to have CBS, ABC and NBC all having median ages in their mid-50s.”

Clip of the Day

Motorola DROID 2 for Verizon review – part 1


Microsoft Technical Leader Says That “Software Patents Suck”

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “Software Patents Suck” says the headline of a new post from Michael S. Kaplan and Ed Burnette’s headlines says that “software patents are a joke, literally”

Michael S. Kaplan is/was “Technical Lead at Microsoft, centering on Collation, Keyboards, and Locales. He was the principal developer for both the Microsoft Layer for Unicode on Windows 9x and the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator.”

Kaplan used to serve an army of drones who do what pays the bill (wage) and what lawyers/MBAs tell them, not what makes sense. Well, perhaps he has decided not to leave his brain in a jar when he goes to work, only to follow orders like it’s a dictatorship. Despite or because of such disclaimers, Michael S. Kaplan has decided to say in MSDN that “Software patents suck” and here is his story:

Software patents suck

[...]

After that last patent, I stopped pursuing patents at Microsoft, I stopped focusing on whether any particular idea was good enough to be patented. And I moved to a job where no matter how good an idea of mine was, it wouldn’t be my responsibility to pursue getting a patent for it, so I never even had to answer the question again.

Call me a conscientious objector in this war that uses software patents as weapons.

Because software patents suck.

Make a copy of this page. It might be gone/modified soon.

In other news, Ed Burnette has a similar opinion.

Unfortunately, the joke is on all of us. It’s on our economy, as we let patents choke down innovation and increase fear, uncertainty, and doubt in an already uncertain time. It’s on our bottom lines, as we make busy-work for our expensive lawyers with their sparkling eyes instead of investing for the future. And it’s on our collective consciousness, as we force good and decent people to act against the better angels of their nature.

When even Microsoft employees are willing to say the truth and refute their employer, then clearly there’s nobody left (except lawyers, lobbyists, and people like Ballmer who employ them) to tell the world that software patents are necessary. It’s time to dump them all (the software patents, not those necessarily those who promote them).

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

Novell Still Negotiating Sale – Touching Base With the News

Posted in Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SCO, SLES/SLED at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As Novell potentially comes to the end of its last era, another synopsis is presented based on news about its products

ACCORDING to this original statement, Novell is still on the block. This possibly means that Novell as a publicly-traded company is having its last weeks/months.

One of Novell’s first employees has published a book about the company’s early history and a few weeks ago he made/uploaded the following video.

Here is another new video that mentions Novell in the context of GNU/Linux.

Proprietary

Novell is a predominantly proprietary software company, still. In fact, Novell seems to be drifting away in this direction, under the blanket of Fog Computing. There is a new Service Pack for BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise (proprietary), some fixes for iPrint, and also these two new stories where DoxTek is bragging about Novell as a client and Novell brags about Uvex (Germany) as its client. A lot of revenue still comes from Novell’s proprietary software portfolio (including software it sells on top of SUSE).

Mono

There is only little coverage about Mono and virtually nothing about Moonlight. Here is one post about Tomboy in Ubuntu and another Windows video about MonoDevelop and a program called 8ball. It’s rather telling that Mono is not about GNU/Linux, not anymore anyway.

SLE*

We rarely hear about SLED users, but some who are using it post instructions (part 1 of 8 parts and not in English). A Virtual Desk Infrastructure (VDI) product supports SLED now:

Oracle, Amazon Offer New Ways to Run Linux From Afar

[...]

VDI 3.2 officially supports Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Oracle Enterprise Linux, though organizations are free to run other Linux distributions with the software as well. Oracle has no plans to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux, given that the company’s own Oracle Enterprise Linux is a close replica of that OS, Coekaerts said.

Speaking of Amazon, further to what we wrote earlier on about SLES at Amazon [1, 2], there’s more news coverage such as:

Novell Expands Cloud Computing Linux to Amazon

Linux faithful like idea of easy SUSE AWS deployment

Amazon To Sell Novell SUSE Linux On EC2

Novell puts SuSE in the Amazon EC2 cloud

Amazon, Novell to sell full SUSE Linux on EC2

Oracle, Amazon Offer New Ways to Run Linux From Afar

Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server now available on Amazon Web Services

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is intended to be the free/libre SLE*, but with the exception of some HOWTOs and occasional reviews or summaries, there is rarely any story told about large deployments of OpenSUSE. Red Hat and Canonical seem to have a stronger grip on desktops.

OpenSUSE still comprises volunteers like this person who writes: “Working on design for the openSUSE project is indeed a hard thing to do. I am not a Novell or openSUSE employee. I do what I do with my free time, which will be drastically reduced soon, because the school year is starting at the end of the month.”

The project called “OpenSUSE” is still Novell’s property. It would help if Novell truly set it free (as in independent).

SCO

Groklaw and Lamlaw continue to explore the SCO case since SCO appeals the ruling in Novell’s favour [1, 2].

An issue is hardly moot when SCO continues to appeal the relevant issues. But, then SCO has to somehow get the US Supreme Court to stay away from their nuisance law suits. SCO lawyers know for certain that if the US Supreme Court decides that a writing means that the specific copyrights subject to a transfer actually have to be identified in the writing itself, they are out of luck.

Regardless of this case, there’s still Oracle to worry about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], not to mention Microsoft and Apple, both of which are suing to get royalties out of Linux. Novell already pays such royalties to Microsoft, having approached Microsoft to make it happen.

Larry Ellison: “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.”

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, Java, Microsoft, SUN at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simon Phipps in Stockholm (2007)
Photo by RightOnBrother

Summary: Leader of Sun’s open source programme is not at all positive about Oracle’s commitment to Free/libre software

THE ORACLE-GOOGLE case has gotten us increasingly distracted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], but it’s an important issue. Simon Phippsinitial reaction was:

Hmm. Aren’t these both Linux Foundation members and OIN licensees? Fighting over open source technology in a Linux distro? Presumably this also indicates Oracle’s decision on Apache’s request for a TCK for Harmony.

Phipps was Sun’s key “Open Source” guy, so his opinion matters a great deal. He is calling for everyone to abolish software patents (again). “If you still think software patents are a spur to innovation, you’re not paying attention,” he wrote. More importantly, he goes on to show that Oracle is not serious about Free software, except as a control freak or a ‘consumer’ (exploiting without contributing much, pretty much like Apple). Oracle has grabbed MySQL and other such projects which relate to databases. In a 2006 interview Ellison made a revealing statement:

FT [Financial Times]: Is open source going to be disruptive to Oracle?

LE [Larry Ellison]: No. If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it. Take [the web server software] Apache: once Apache got better than our own web server, we threw it away and took Apache. So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our products and charge for support, and that’s what we’ll do. So it is not disruptive at all – you have to find places to add value. Once open source gets good enough, competing with it would be insane. Keep in mind it’s not that good in most places yet. We’re a big supporter of Linux. At some point we may embed Linux in all of our products and provide support.

Phipps also links to Carlo Daffara’s second insightful post about the subject:

I believe that the first one is the most probable one; Larry Ellison should know that cornering Google would not be sufficient to make them capitulate – they have too much to lose. But this will not be sufficient to create an opportunity for Oracle; I believe that the lawsuit will actually bring nothing to Oracle, and lots of advantages to Google. But only time will tell; the only thing that I can predict for sure right now is that Solaris will quickly fade from sight (as it will be unable to grow at the same rate of Linux) exactly like AIX and HP-UX: a mature and backroom tech, but nothing that you can base a growth strategy upon.

The FSF-backed swpat.org is already stepping in and Google promises to fight Oracle to defend Android/Dalvik.

Leisure Suit Larry Ellison

Links 17/8/2010: Android Tablets, Eben Moglen Warns About SaaS Again

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Diggs, Damn Diggs and Censorship: R.I.P. Linux?

    Substantiated with numerous account names, links and transcripts, Olson’s evidence is nothing if not damning, and more than 500 comments arose in short order as a testament to that fact.

    FreakOutNation, meanwhile, added fuel to the fire by publishing a list of hundreds of Digg users who were found to be among Digg Patriots’ primary targets.

    The blaze gained entry to FOSS County when Computerworld’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols picked up Olson’s torch and used it to examine the fate of Linux-related stories on Digg.

    “In early 2009, new popular Linux stories would pop up every day or two on Digg,” Vaughan-Nichols wrote. “By mid-2010, Linux stories on Digg became popular only once every week or so.”

    Indeed, Linux Girl can’t help but note that she has noticed this too!

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Eye Candy

      I chose the “Inverted” Gnome widget theme
      I chose the “Inverted” Window border
      I chose the “Faenza-Dark” Icon set, it can be found here
      I chose the “comfortaa” font that Fedora is using, it can be found here there is a Fedora rpm available for this as well, just search for comfortaa. The Droid fonts also look quite nice.

    • It’s Friday, I’m in love

      Ah, love! The Cure’s song that carries today’s blog title bounces gently off the walls of the office while I think about the things I love about GNU/Linux (or Linux, if you’re so inclined).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME vs KDE: which is right for you?

      For your convenience the article has been broken down into a number of sub-sections which weighs up the various pros and cons for GNOME and KDE in various situation for both users and developers.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma: now comes in tablets

        When designing Plasma Mobile, it was immediately clear that wouldn’t have been possible to do a “one design fits all” application: mobile devices vould have come in pretty diffrent forms:

        * Different resolution
        * Different phisical size
        * That implies, different DPI
        * Different use cases: an internet tablet and a phone put the emphasis on very different primary functions

      • KDE Desktop Activities explained

        This seemed like a redundancy in Linux, what with the existence of the pager and all. But as KDE grew a bit older and wiser, the usage of this feature become more and more clear. Now, in this Ghacks article I am going to help you to understand exactly why this feature is something you will certainly want to use to keep your desktop as organized as possible.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Happy 17th Birthday Debian (And some interesting history)

        You can show your appreciation for Debian by thanking a developer or the community – Debian Appreciation Day (Thanks to a Slashdot commentator for this)

      • Why prefer Debian GNU/Linux over another distribution

        Quite some time ago I wrote a blog post explaining why I preferred Mandriva over other distributions. But I have now switched to Debian GNU/Linux, so it is time for an update. I will mostly compare with Mandriva because that is where I come from and what I know the best, although most points are rather universal.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS review

            Here’s something I haven’t done in far too long..an OS review of course. So, my latest offering is called Peppermint OS. Yes, the name is why I chose to review it (she says defensively) This particular Linux OS has two versions..One and Ice. I am reviewing Peppermint OS One. The Ice version is all cloud based. The operating system is a fork of Lubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment, a lightweight desktop.

          • Linux Mint 9: Installation Review – A Not-So-Happy Story

            Fed up with my buggy PCLinuxOS, I decided to install the new Linux Mint 9. After burning the installation DVD image (which is just over 700MB), I decided to install it on my Lenovo Thinkpad Z60m.

            The loading process of the Live DVD was relatively smooth, though it felt a little slow to load the live image. (PCinux is still faster in the Live CD department)

            I then decided to install, and it asked for the customary questions like location, keyboard etc.

          • Thoughts on Linux Mint 9

            If I were to recommend a Linux distro for a desktop user with no background in Linux, it would be Linux Mint. Actually, Linux Mint is a great release for anyone who wants a easy to install, work out-of-the-box desktop environment. Great job guys.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Reviewed: Pandora Console

      If you’re familiar with the original GP2X and GP2X Wiz, the Linux-based handhelds produced by Korean techno-alchemists Game Park Holdings, you’ll be acutely aware of just how close they came to greatness; both consoles suffered from compromises that prevented them from truly fulfilling their potential. Interestingly, some of the guys in charge of distributing these two machines internationally felt the same way and back in 2008 they set about creating their own dream machine that would avoid the pitfalls that afflicted those two consoles. Read on to discover whether it was worth the effort.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Intel, Nokia tout MeeGo as inclusive alternative to Android

          During the annual LinuxCon conference last week in Boston, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin moderated a discussion panel about the Linux-based MeeGo platform with Nokia’s MeeGo Ecosystem Development head Thomas Miller and Intel open source technologist Derek Speed. During the panel, Miller and Speed discussed some of the technical and logistical characteristics that differentiate MeeGo from other mobile platforms.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola DROID Pro, World Edition and Tablet all found in Verizon Wireless systems

        The Motorola DROID Pro, the handset with a 4″ display, 1.3GHz CPU, and global roaming capability gets the model number A957, and is set for a November launch. Motorola is also apparently working on a more business-focused version of the DROID 2 with a World Edition global roaming feature, and it looks like that device will launch relatively soon with the model number A956. If that’s not enough, it also appears that the phone will come in two color choices, black and white.

      • WeTab Set for September German Release, Other Countries to Follow

        Our friends in Germany are proud to release the new WeTab (formerly known as the WePad) next month to retail stores (or pre-order online now.)

      • The $35 tablet isn’t hogwash

        Given India’s chequered history of non-deliverable low-cost devices, it’s easy to believe the sceptics of India’s $35 tablet.

        But this device might just turn the tables.

        While the media disses and dismisses the ultra low-cost tablet, Microsoft and Google are apparently fighting a pitched battle to place their operating systems on the device aimed at school children of the world. Microsoft has come forth and offered its Windows CE OS to run on the device which currently runs Google’s open source Android OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Decompiler Dilemma

    The whole advantage to free software is that you can take it apart and look at it, right? That is what most free software advocates would have you believe. So what would happen if the GNU Project released a Perfect Decompiler, a decompiler that could perfectly decode any binary into source code understandable by humans? (For the theoretical purposes of this discussion, let us also assume the impossible case that the binary is decompiled into a verbatim copy of the original source code.) Would this help or hurt the Free Software Movement?

    The only barriers ensuring that proprietary software remains proprietary would be those of law. In a pure state of anarchy, a perfect decompiler would be indistinguishable from having all software released as free software. It would essentially render the Free Software Movement perfectly successful in anarchist states. Complete access to the source code of any application could be obtained with little effort, and modification would be limited only by the quality of the newfound code. In the world as it exists today, however, this would not be the case. Proprietary software licenses across the board prohibit disassembling in the first place, and copyright laws prohibit the possibility of doing anything interesting with the decompiled code. It would seem that, besides abandonware and oddly-permissive proprietary licenses, a perfect decompiler would be meaningless to the Free Software Movement due to the artificially imposed limits of the government. Is that necessarily so?

  • An Organic Open Source Movement?

    Where open source has the open source definition, the organic food business has a community which has created a number of now internationally recognised definitions of what makes food organic and now has organisations that certify the organic compliance of companies that claim to make organic products.

  • Web Browsers

    • Five lesser-known browsers

      We’ve all heard of Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari. But have you heard of IceCat, Maxathon or NetSurf? There are literally hundreds of different web browsers available to users. We look at some of the lesser-known browsers available.

  • SaaS

    • Eben Moglen Calls To Free the Cloud

      At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on (‘for lack of a better term’) freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers.

  • Healthcare

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 15 HTML5 Demos Showcasing Prowess of HTML5 Over Adobe Flash

      HTML is basically a standard for structuring and presenting content in the internet and HTML5 is the newest incarnation of HTML. HTML5 is supposed to have features like video playback which currently depends upon third-party(and proprietary) browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash. And please do keep in mind that, HTML5 itself is still a work in progress and hence these 15 demos are far from perfect. But they are all you need to get inspired and start learning more about HTML5(I hope).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Sun’s ‘quiet period’ explained

      Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity.

      The most recent so-called “solar minimum” occurred in December 2008.

      Its drawn-out nature extended the total length of the last solar cycle – the repeating cycle of the Sun’s activity – to 12.6 years, making it the longest in almost 200 years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • More than 500,000 (or 5,000,000 according to Yahoo) Network Solutions parked domains actively serving malware
    • Michael Howard backs calls for inquest into death of David Kelly

      The former Conservative leader Michael Howard today backed calls for a a full inquest into the death of the government weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

      His call came after a group of prominent experts described the official explanation for the scientist’s death in 2003 as “extremely unlikely”.

      Howard, who is now a Tory peer, said their intervention confirmed his belief that there should now be a proper inquest.

      “In view of the growing number of relevant questions that have arisen and cast doubt on the conclusions reached by Lord Hutton, I believe it would now be appropriate for a full inquest to be held,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

    • Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That

      On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a gathering in London that the secret-spilling website is moving ahead with plans to publish the remaining 15,000 records from the Afghan war logs, despite a demand from the Pentagon that WikiLeaks “return” its entire cache of published and unpublished classified U.S. documents.

    • Elderly widow threatened with £2,500 fine for dropping cigarette ash

      Mrs Martin, from Oldbury, West Mids, was hit with the original fine by the Sandwell Council warden while at the bus stop on May 25.

      She said: “I still can’t believe what happened.

      “I was just sat at a bus stop quietly enjoying my cigarette and from nowhere a warden appeared and accused me of littering.

    • The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret, and Dangerous

      Illustrating this More-Surveillance-is-Always-Better mindset is what happened after The New York Times revealed in December, 2005 that the Bush administration had ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without the warrants required by law and without any external oversight at all. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old FISA law made every such act of warrantless eavesdropping a felony, “punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both,” and despite the fact that all three federal judges who ruled on the program’s legality concluded that it was illegal, there was no accountability of any kind. The opposite is true: the telecom corporations which enabled and participated in this lawbreaking were immunized by a 2008 law supported by Barack Obama and enacted by the Democratic Congress. And that same Congress twice legalized the bulk of the warrantless eavesdropping powers which The New York Times had exposed: first with the 2007 Protect America Act, and then with the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which, for good measure, even added new warrantless surveillance authorities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Ascent of Middle East Food and Energy Demand

      At the EIA’s International Energy Outlook (IEO) presentation this May the issue of future oil exports from OPEC nations came up, and in an interesting way. Readers may be familiar with the phenomenon of declining net exports, from major oil producing nations, as a result of internal demand from growing, domestic populations. The phenomenon was modelled last decade by Jeffrey Brown and Samuel Foucher. Their Export-Land Model showed that the rate of decline from oil exporters can become quite accelerated. While that may seem obvious, it was a point worth making last decade when it was widely presumed that gross production from large oil producing nations was largely available for export. The tipping, of both the UK and Indonesia, from net oil exporters to net oil importers should have put an end to such a presumption. More importantly, the rise of domestic oil consumption in Saudi Arabia was also a warning. Saudi oil exports have declined now for five years.

    • The Dirtiest Sport

      Since its inception, NASCAR has not received adequate scrutiny for the environmental impact it causes. There seem to be more positive references to NASCAR (conservative romanticizing of NASCAR dads) than there are serious investigations into the problems associated with the sport. What is most striking is that NASCAR stock cars are unregulated by Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA mandates certain levels of of cleanliness from everyday passenger cars, but the machines of NASCAR have been granted a loophole and can spew toxins in the air without using mufflers, catalytic converters or any sort of emissions control device.

    • BP to Pay Record Fine for Refinery

      BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6 million fine to the federal government for safety violations found by regulators last year at its troubled refinery in Texas City, Tex., where 15 workers died in a 2005 explosion.

    • The Federal Reserve Enters Decline

      The Federal Reserve came into existence during the fattest part of the abundance curve, made possible by the extraction of energy-dense fossil fuels. The early part of the last century was the moment when the world started to transition from Coal to Oil, with the fullness of oil’s resource spread out before the industrial economy like a broad forest.

  • Finance

    • US unemployment: Don’t let the elite pass the buck

      Growth is slowing and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care – that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is becoming the norm. And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural”, a permanent part of the economic landscape – and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.

    • Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’

      “How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lawmakers Worry Meritless Lawsuits Threaten Free Speech

      When Dallas developer H. Walker Royall found out about an impending book digging into one of his projects, he went on a lawsuit bender.

      He sued the author, Carla Main, and her publisher, Encounter Books. He sued Richard Epstein — the prominent libertarian academic — for a blurb he wrote praising the book. He sued Mark Lardas, who reviewed the book, and the Galveston County Daily News for publishing the review. His suit against Main and her publisher — the lower court dropped Epstein as a defendant on jurisdictional grounds, and Lardas and his newspaper settled with Royall out of court — has since become a poster child for so-called SLAPPs: strategic lawsuits against public participation.

    • EFF to Verizon: Etisalat Certificate Authority Threatens Web Security
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Geek Squad owners send cease-and-desist letter to God Squad

      Virus infected your computer? Call the Geek Squad.

      Temptation infected your soul? Ring up the God Squad – just don’t expect Father Luke Strand to show up in the same clever little car he’s been driving since his days in the seminary.

      The young priest’s attempt to add a little fun to his ministry has apparently run afoul of some corporate lawyers who care more about strictly enforcing trademarks than eternal salvation.

      Best Buy, the Minnesota-based electronics retailing giant, recently sent Strand a cease-and-desist letter concerning his car. The black Volkswagen Beetle has oval door stickers that read “God Squad” in a logo very similar to the black, white and orange logos on black-and-white Geek Squad Beetles driven by the computer and electronics trouble-shooters.

      The car has been around for at least two years, when it was featured in a photo of Strand and his then-colleagues at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. The car has a white square on the hood, to mimic a priest’s collar, and the license plate reads, GODLVYA.

    • Wisconsin ‘God Squad’ gets cease-and-desist letter
    • 4th Circuit: Post-Purchase Confused Restroom Users

      GP licenses the ENMOTION towel dispenser to distributors who license it to restroom operators. The restroom operators are contractually obligated to use only ENMOTION brand toweling. Von Drehle created compatible (and allegedly inferior) paper for the ENMOTION dispenser.

    • Copyrights

      • Comically Absurd IP

        Certain arguments come up over and over again in copyright debates. Mike recently wrote about copyright monopolists calling Free Culture “neo Marxist.”

      • More And More People Seeing How Collection Societies Have Distorted Copyright

        Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend around the world for various collection societies to become increasingly more aggressive. More aggressive in trying to increase the statutorily-defined rates. More aggressive in expanding what it is they cover. More aggressive in finding small businesses to pay up. And, more recently, more aggressive in lashing out at any organization that seeks to help musicians embrace alternatives. There are a few reasons for this. Obviously, the recorded music side of the music business has seen revenue decrease, so collection societies have tried to pick up the slack. But, more generally speaking, it’s an indication that the process of collection societies is broken. From their very design, they’re set up to allow certain industry interests to take charge and influence them, and then to aggressively seek to expand their own rights, influence and ability to collect.

Clip of the Day

“SPARC: The Power of Ideas”


« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts