Links 27/8/2010:ZaReason “Back-to-School Special”, PlayOnLinux 3.8 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Indian admins love Linux, stuck on Windows

    Microsoft took a bit of a bashing from panellists at the Indian Roundtable, attracting complaints for its complex and inflexible licensing policies.

  • Back to School With Ubuntu?

    Earlier today, ZaReason sent me a group email offering back-to-school specials on Ubuntu-based computers. I receive similar special offers from System 76 from time to time. Going forward, I hope Canonical finds a way to turn up the volume on these third-party Ubuntu system promotions. Here’s why.


    Companies like ZaReason and System76 deserve applause from Ubuntu community members. In ZaReason’s case, the company is offering a “back-to-school special” where, for one week, customers can receive a 5 percent education discount when they use LEARN42 as a discount code. The sale runs until midnight on Sept 1, 2010.

  • Server

    • The Top 10 Linux Server Distributions

      You know that Linux is a hot data center server. You know that it saves you money in licensing and maintenance costs. But, what are your options for Linux as a server operating system? Listed here are the top ten Linux server distributions — some of which you may not be aware. The following chararistics, in no particular order, qualified a distribution for inclusion in this list: Ease-of-use, available commercial support and data center reliability.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Google Talk Plugin

        Google Blog announced the make a phone call from gmail yesterday. It’s google so it has to be good right? Getting it working can be the fun part tho. There appears to be two ebuilds out there that one can try. Gentoo Bugzilla 333769 has a 9999 version and cj-overlay has version to try. If we follow Sabayon wiki article for 3rd Party ebuilds we can get it installed in no time.

      • Systemd in Gentoo

        A lot of folks are raving about the next generation in init systems (aka systemd), and how it’s (almost certainly) going to be the default init system for Fedora 14 (paid article, subscribe to LWN to read! [or wait a week]). It also seems that OpenSuse will be moving to systemd sometime in the near future (don’t take my word for this though), and Debian has at least considered it. It is also well-known that Ubuntu will not be using systemd for the foreseeable future.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – August 26th, 2010

        Different aspects of the port of the Debian operating system to the FreeBSD kernel have made great progress recently. The Debian installer has been upgraded to the FreeBSD kernel version 8.1, which also allows the installation system to be used in languages other than English. Also the debian-cd scripts used to create CD and DVD images now support the creation of the new architectures. Daily build images for Debian unstable are already available; daily and weekly builds for “Squeeze” will be made available with the next beta release of the Debian installer. However, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD related web pages are outdated, and help is needed to fix the web and wiki pages.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Second update to the Ubuntu Light themes

          It has been a great couple of weeks for me, where I continued working jointly with our visionary design lead Otto Greenslade, who I would like to thank for everything: working with him is really an exciting and valuable experience… he is fun, and the more I work with him, the more comfortable I feel and that means improving our productivity day-by-day.

        • Preparing for Ubuntu 10.10 with the Platform Rally

          With every release, Canonical sets a certain amount of specifications it wants to deliver itself for the next Ubuntu release. These tasks are mainly created at UDS, within the public view. These blueprints are those that Canonical engineers are tasked to work on, and are generally maintained on Launchpad and the Ubuntu wiki. While Ubuntu and Canonical are well versed in the style of distributed development, it seems that occasional real-life collaboration helps to stimulate the development cycle: by collecting the right people, together focusing on the specifications they are tasked with.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HTC EVO 4G Froyo Update Rooted!

          Owners of the Sprint-exclusive HTC EVO 4G have been pining for a root for the Android 2.2 Froyo update to the phone’s software since its release at the start of the month, and this week XDA developer and resident rooting guru regaw_leinad has posted the first guide to doing so.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • European embedded Linux conference colocates with GStreamer event

      The Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) announced the program for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), scheduled for Oct. 26-28 in Cambridge, U.K. ELCE 2010 features keynotes by MIPS/Linux maintainer Ralf Baechle and Texas Instruments OMAP director Ari Rauch, sessions on mobile Linux, Android, and MeeGo, plus a co-located GStreamer conference.

      The Embedded Linux Conference Europe program runs from Oct 27-28. In addition, two half-day, hands-on tutorial sessions are available on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Taught by Linux trainer and consultant Chris Simmonds, the sessions cover basic embedded Linux bring-up and an introduction to Android development, respectively.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Beta 4 opens a new Panorama

        For a long time, most new browser releases have seemed to primarily offer “me-too” features to match the competition, together with interface tweaks and theoretical speed improvements measured in milliseconds. But Mozilla’s recently released Beta 4 of Firefox 4 rolls out two of the best new browser features to come along in quite some time. The excellent tab-handling capabilities of Panorama and the multicomputer synchronization prowess of Sync mean that Firefox offers some of the best browsing and productivity tools now built into any browser.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Company Explores CwF+RtB In Getting Sponsorship For Whitepaper

      Of course, some will note that finding a “sponsor” for a whitepaper is hardly a new idea — and that’s absolutely true. Connecting with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy doesn’t necessarily mean doing something “new” or totally out of the ordinary. It’s about looking at what’s available, and how it can be used more efficiently.

    • Diaspora arriving September 15

      Now September has come, and they’ve broken their long silence. Diaspora will launch on September 15.

    • Diaspora Three Weeks Away From Unveiling Open-Source Facebook Alternative

      Remember Diaspora? You’ll be forgiven if you don’t. Since they received a lot of hype as the open-source “Facebook Alternative” this past May, they’ve been quiet. In fact, they hadn’t given any updates on their progress since early July. But today they’ve re-emerged with some updates. Notably, they say: “We have Diaspora working, we like it, and it will be open-sourced on September 15th.” That’s just three weeks away.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • GNU/Linux – finally it’s Free software

      One of the long-running projects I had at Sun was to get the (pre-GPL, permissive) license on Sun RPC changed. Why would that interest anyone? Well, the code in question is the original implementation of Sun RPC, which went on to become RFC 1057 and today is a core part of every UNIX-family operating system. Including Debian GNU/Linux and Fedora, both keen to be 100% Free-licensed software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open textbooks to the rescue

      Mark Horner is a Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation. The model of the Foundation is unusual: we identify interesting change agents, like Mark, who are articulating powerful ideas that seem like the offer a hint of the future, and we fund them to work on those for a year. We also offer them an investment multiplier: if they put their personal money into a project, we multiply that by 10x or more, up to a maximum amount. In short, find good people, back them when they put skin in the game.


  • Haitian music star Wyclef Jean’s presidential candidacy a distraction

    The on-again-off-again presidential candidacy of music star Wyclef Jean is a distraction for Haiti.

    On Friday, Aug. 20, the Haiti Electoral Council ruled that 15 out of the 34 candidates had not met the legal requirements to run for president of Haiti. Jean was one of the rejected candidates and he’s chosen to appeal the decision.

  • Vedanta mine plan halted by Indian government

    Campaigners, who have been backed in their fight against the mining giant’s plans by Joanna Lumley and Michael Palin, described the move as a “stunning victory”. Monty Python star turned professional traveller Palin expressed “absolute delight” in the news adding: “I hope it will send a signal to the big corporations that they can never assume that might is right. It’s a big victory for the little people.”

    The project had been thrown into doubt last week when a government inquiry said that mining would destroy the way of life of the area’s “endangered” and “primitive” people, the Kutia and Dongria Kondh tribes. The four-person committee also accused a local subsidiary of Vedanta of violating forest conservation and environment protection regulations.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • The boring truth about those Julian Assange smears

      But the speed with which the conspiracy theories spread throughout the moronosphere was enough for The New York Times London correspondent, the terrific John Burns, to produce an article headlined, “Plotting doubted in Wikileaks case”. That would be the Pentagon/CIA plotting to destroy Assange, obviously. Assuming that Assange knew the identity of his accusers when contacted by prosecutors, he nevertheless told any reporter within earshot that “we have been warned that the Pentagon, for example, is thinking of deploying dirty tricks to ruin us. And I have also been warned about sex traps.” After expressing scepticism that it was an American intelligence job, Harpers magazine nevertheless warned that “as this incident makes clear, the war on WikiLeaks will be fought with unconventional tools and those following the story are advised to accept nothing at face value.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • French activists uproot GM vines at research centre

      For the second time in less than a year, genetically modified vines being tested by the French National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) in its Colmar centre in eastern France have been uprooted and destroyed. Now that France no longer grows or tests GM corn, which used to be a regular summer target of the Faucheurs Volontaires (voluntary reapers) movement, attention has turned to the vines.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Blasphemous posters hit New Zealand

      I realize that this is a highly controversial campaign and I want to make sure it is clear to everybody that the fact that we publish any campaign it doesn’t mean we support it too. We’re just publishing it for the world to see and comment on. Apologies to anyone offended.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guess Who Is Trying To Trademark The Word “Face”? (And Guess Who Is Trying To Stop It?)

      When it comes to trademarks, Facebook is proving to be a bully. It is going after Teachbook in court for using a similar name, and already forced Placebook to change its name. But that is only half the story.

      It is not just the word “book” at the end of a company or product name that Facebook might object to. If it has its way, the word “Face” at the beginning of a name might also bring out its lawyers. In fact, Facebook is currently trying to register the word “Face” as a trademark. (It already owns the trademark on “Facebook”). Facebook took over the trademark application for “Face” from a company in the UK called CIS Internet Limited, which operated a site called Faceparty.com. Presumably, Facebook bought the application sometime around November, 2008, which is when its lawyer started dealing with the USPTO.

    • Copyrights

      • Is the DMCA Still Controversial?

        The courts’ newfound sensitivity to the risk of DMCA overreach, and the Library of Congress’s efforts to keep the statute confined to the purposes that actually prompted its enactment, have me wondering whether the DMCA controversy is now behind us; whether the worst of the statute’s sharp edges haven’t now been effectively worn away.

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