Links 6/8/2011: Catching Up With a Week Ago

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

GNOME bluefish



  • 11 More Places You Would Never Expect To See Linux

    Here are 11 other cool or weird things that use Linux.

  • Would you like fries with that?

    I learned this trick in the Nineties, when, for further reasons I won’t bore you with, a friend of mine was buying a desktop PC in a large UK electrical chain. The assistant then was busying himself trying to sell my friend the after-care service, and I assured him that we had a further friend who would be able to resolve any problems should they arise. “Oh”, hissed the assistant in question, “so your friend is a qualified Mitac engineer is he?”. I played this one simply and succinctly. “Yes he is”, I calmly answered. The sales assistant gave up. I felt, in truth, really quite pleased with myself.

    This time, though, I wasn’t quite so lucky. Once I’d found the laptop that I needed to get – with the only OSes on offer being Windows 7 and Mac OS – I called the assistant over. It was going well. “I’d like this one, please,” I said, expecting some favourable acknowledgement in return.

  • [Joke] Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Windows
  • [Joke] Why Closed Source Software is More Secure
  • Desktop

    • The top five Linux desktop vendors

      It’s really not that hard to give Linux a try on a desktop or notebook. But, I get it. Not everyone is comfortable with burning operating system ISOs to a CD and then booting a computer from it. If that’s you, or a friend of yours, then consider just buying a PC or laptop that has Linux on it that’s ready to go.

    • Affordable But Capable Ubuntu-powered Laptop Computers

      Ubuntu, slowly but steadily, is gaining prominence in the Microsoft-dominated world of desktop, laptop and netbook computers. While this gradual rise may not be enough for your next-door Joe to switch to Ubuntu, it does however give the devoted Linux user some decent choice while buying his or her new laptop.

      Recently, laptops and netbooks have started showing up in the market and are pre-loaded with Ubuntu. Though this may not be any different than buying a Windows-based laptop and replacing the OS with Ubuntu, it does offer a few advantages. Buying an Ubuntu-powered PC allows you to overcome the initial hiccups many new Linux users face, which are mainly related to hardware incompatibilities.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • CUPS 1.5.0 Released With Several New Features

      For those still in a non-paper-less world, CUPS, the printing system for Linux, Mac OS X, and other operating systems, has been updated. CUPS 1.5 was just officially released today and its release, which is largely developed by Apple, comes just shortly following the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion release. CUPS 1.5 brings several new features and changes to the printing world.

    • Torvalds’s Git: The ‘it’ technology for software version control

      Git, the open source distributed software version control system pioneered by Linux founder Linus Torvalds in 2005, is now gaining real momentum with developers. But don’t count out rivals like Mercurial and the still-dominant Apache Subversion platform.

      In the past three years, the Eclipse Community Survey on open source development has seen Git grow from 2 percent adoption in 2009 to nearly 13 percent this year, says Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, who has assisted with the survey. “Pretty impressive,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons Eclipse has adopted Git as a supported alternative to Subversion for Eclipse projects.”

    • The DRM Pull For The Linux 3.1 Kernel

      Previously I talked about some of the DRM changes for Linux 3.1. What is found in David’s tree for the Linux 3.1 merge window is nearly the same. The open-source graphics driver changes queued up for the Linux 3.1 kernel aren’t nearly as exciting as what has been merged during some of the past kernel development cycles. There isn’t any major new hardware support, no ground-breaking features, or other really fundamental changes, but just some modest updates.

    • Goodbye Linux 2.6, Hello Linux 3.0

      It’s not every week a new major kernel version is released. This past week, the Linux Planet witnessed the Linux 3.0 release, the first major since the 2.6 kernel came out in 2003. It’s a number change that has more to do with history than technology, but it is a significant milestone nonetheless. The Linux kernel wasn’t the only part of the Linux ecosystem with updates this week: Oracle, Red Hat and SUSE all pushed out new releases as well.

    • Further adventures in EFI booting

      Many people still install Linux from CDs. But a growing number install from USB. In an ideal world you’d be able to download one image that would let you do either, but it turns out that that’s quite difficult. Shockingly enough, it’s another situation where the system firmware exists to make your life difficult.

    • Virtualisation

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Releases A Batch Of Vintage Linux Drivers

        On the ATI/AMD Radeon side, when your hardware is no longer supported by the mainline Catalyst driver (e.g. right now all Radeon X1000 [R500] GPUs and older), you’re left to use just the open-source driver stack, which obviously works quite well for many consumers on new and old hardware. AMD doesn’t update their legacy Catalyst support for this older hardware in terms of bug-fixes and support for new X.Org / Linux releases. NVIDIA though, however, is continuing to support their vintage hardware via legacy Linux driver updates. This week they’ve released four new drivers.

      • AMD Catalyst 11.7 Driver For Linux Brings…

        As has been pointed out in the forums, the AMD Catalyst 11.7 Linux driver for Radeon and FirePro graphics hardware has been released this morning. What new features does this proprietary driver bring?

        Well, it does bring support for the Linux 2.6.39/3.0 kernels. The Linux 2.6.39 kernel is at least being reported to work with Catalyst 11.7 driver after in previous releases needing to apply a patch for the kernel. The Linux 3.0 kernel should also work with this driver, fortunately, making it possible to use under Ubuntu 11.10 (Canonical isn’t upgrading to xorg-server 1.11, so the core requirements should now be met) and other recent distributions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME vs. KDE vs. Unity: Customization Tools and Ease of Use

      Customization has always had a high priority on the Linux desktop. That hasn’t changed now that the two major desktops have become three — GNOME, KDE and Ubuntu’s Unity. If anything, as much as two-thirds of the complaints are about this trio.

      Often, the problem isn’t that a tool is missing, but that it’s been renamed or repositioned. But the questions remain: Which of the three major Linux desktops offers the most customization tools, and which tools are easiest to use?

    • My GUI

      Once you’ve got those files in your .fvwm directory, logging out of your usual Gnome/KDE/XFCE/whatever session and selecting “FVWM” on the login screen should be all you need to do. If it’s not that simple on your system, you probably know how to deal with it.

    • I really want to show icons
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Contouring resources
      • on a cloudy wednesday

        Yesterday was also the day that the Ausie couch surfers went home. Aside from leaving little stuffed kangaroos all around the house for me to find (they had a great sense of humor and adventure), they also left behind some nice memories such as when one of them pulled out their laptop with a rather old version of Linux on it running Xandros with KDE. Crazy! She’s now looking to upgrade to a new system but isn’t too smitten with the idea of Windows and had been looking at a Mac. While here, I had my laptop out for work and what not and she shoulder-surfed a bit. The result was that she asked how she could get a computer pre-installed with Plasma Desktop on it. Just seeing what it looked like and how well it works on a commodity laptop was enough to create that desire.

      • Running KWin with OpenGL ES 2.0

        Today we expect the release of the KDE Plasma Workspaces in version 4.7 which is the first release including an OpenGL ES 2.0/EGL backend in KWin. This does not only allow us to run KWin on OpenGL ES powered devices (I am particular looking forward to see KWin on Tegra 2 devices), but also gives us a much better compositing experience on the desktop systems. Thanks to the work on OpenGL ES 2.0 our default compositing backend is now OpenGL 2.x based instead of OpenGL 1.x as it was till 4.6.

      • Awesomeness to land in KDE with release 4.7

        Ever since the bumpy start of KDE 4 series, KDE has maintained a steady improvement, consistently bringing stability, performance and features, as well as raising its overall quality release after release. Personally, I think KDE 4.4 was the first release to really bring stability and performance to high standard levels, while 4.5 and 4.6 have managed to improve that even further and expand that same level of quality to other areas.

      • KDE 4.7 – all your emails are belong to us
      • What is your best favourite KDE distro?
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3: Awesome Designs for “Music” and “Documents” File Browsing

        New and exciting ways of interacting with files are being explored in GNOME 3.

        Rather than just navigate to and ‘view’ your files the following designs show off features and interfaces that are helpful, modern and in keeping with the modern GNOME desktop.

      • Linus Torvalds would like to see a GNOME fork
      • DIDO?
      • GNOME Shell 3.1.4 released

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • GNOME Shell, Mutter Move One Step Forward

        In readying for the GNOME 3.1.4 development release, there’s new development builds available for the GNOME Shell and Mutter — two of the key components of the GNOME 3 desktop.

      • A Worthy Alternative to Gnome 3 and Unity

        I’m back with a few opinions about the world of Linux and specifically the controversial state of desktop/window managers.

        As anyone who knows anything about Linux is no doubt familiar, the state of Linux for average desktop users has been changing a lot since Ubuntu 11.04 came out in April. Instead of Gnome 3 Shell, or Gnome 2.3; Ubuntu now uses the Unity desktop interface. Many people like it, but many people also dislike it in its present state of development. It may have been released a bit prematurely, but I imagine Unity and its ability for customization will improve greatly when Ubuntu 11.10 comes out, and in the coming years.

  • Distributions

    • Linux and BSD desktop distributions with support for disk encryption
    • Spotlight on Linux: Linvo GNU/Linux

      After an earlier quick look, it seemed Linvo GNU/Linux was worthy of a spotlight. Linvo is a Slackware-based distribution featuring GNOME 2.32 and is shipped as a live image. The desktop is pretty and features a handy set of applications. In addition, additional applications are available through a popular one-click format.

      Linvo has been in development since early 2009 and was recently added to Distrowatch’s distribution database. Slackware has long been known as rock solid and stable, and Linvo dresses it up and brings some advantages over Slackware itself.

    • Review: Kongoni 2011 “Firefly”

      his is another review that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. That said, until recently, the last new version of Kongoni came out quite a while ago, so I figured that I should sit tight and wait for the new version. I did, and it’s here, so I’m reviewing it now.

      So what is Kongoni? It’s a Slackware-based Linux distribution that uses KDE. Though it claims to also be relatively easy-to-use, its priority number one is to be a fully free software distribution, akin to Ubuntu-based Trisquel, which I have reviewed before. It also has a couple pieces of software to help it achieve the other goal of being easier to use.

    • 5 Tiniest Linux Distributions For Your Ancient Computers

      Not so long ago, IBM, in its ads, made a bold claim that read “Linux is everywhere”. While a Windows-crazy fanboy would be quick to repudiate that claim, any levelheaded IT guy would tell you how true that is. Linux can run on almost any kind of device, be it a gigantic supercomputer or a tiny mobile gadget.

    • Kongoni: You have the right to remain silent
    • DIY: How to find Linux versions needed for older hardware
    • antiX provides three great ways to build a Linux system to meet your needs

      I have been an enthusiastic user and supporter of the antiX distribution since it became available in 2006. The antiX distribution is a lightweight, flexible alternative to its parent distribution, SimplyMEPIS, which is based on the rock solid Debian Stable technology. As configured when installed, antiX uses the Debian Testing repositories instead of the Debian Stable repositories, and it also has entries in the packaging configuration directory /etc/apt for Stable, Testing, or Sid (Unstable).

    • Review: Chakra 2011.04-r2 “Aida”

      Desktop effects, though not enabled out-of-the-box, worked smoothly once enabled. Neither KDE nor the associated applications ever crashed. Finally, Chakra felt fast, and the numbers bore that feeling out: at idle, Chakra used just 280 MB of RAM, which is probably the lowest I’ve seen of any KDE distribution and is comparable to some of the heavier GNOME distributions like Ubuntu. The only other issue I had was in making the OS suspend, but it seems like Linux distributions all across the board dislike my laptop when it comes to suspending.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Linux Is Better Than Windows.

        My brother Jim finally got fed up with his Windows computers getting attacked by viruses. So, his son recently installed PCLinuxOS to his Netbook.

        The exact version Mike installed was the newest PCLinuxOS featuring the LXDE desktop Environment. If you have a netbook, PCLinuxOS LXDE is the perfect choice.

        You can get it here.

        Neal and his team at PCLinuxOS really did a superlative job. The Desktop is fast, light, and feature rich. And it’s quite familiar. If you’re coming over from Windows, you’ll have no problem finding your way around the desktop.

      • Mandriva’s Eugeni Dodonov Leaves Goodbye Gifts

        Dodonov states these tools may use Mandriva graphical front-ends, but the underlying tools should work on any distribution. He thought that previously use by other distros may have been hampered by subversion repository access and availability. He adds, “I’ll be still maintaining and developing them for the foreseeable future, but – as always – everyone is free to contribute, adapt and use them in the way you think the best.”

      • Mandriva Desktop 2011 pre-release screenshot review

        The last of the pre-releases of Mandriva Desktop 2011, Mandriva Desktop 2011 RC 2, was made available for download yesterday, just one day behind schedule. It, of course, looks better, runs better, than the previous pre-release, which I previewed here. As the title suggests, this article is not a full review, but a screenshot tour of the major features of what will be Mandriva Desktop 2011, due for final release on August 28, 2011.

      • Mandriva 2011 Almost Ready, RC2 Released

        Mandriva 2011 RC2 was released yesterday with lot of bug fixes and stability improvements. In the release announcement Eugeni Dodonov also introduced the new release manager, Denis Koryavov from ROSA Labs. ROSA Labs is taking a large role in this release primarily with its new interface elements.

      • Mandriva Directory Server 2.4.1 now available

        Mandriva announces the immediate availability of a new release of the Mandriva Directory Server (MDS), an easy to use, powerful and secure solution for managing identities, directory services and network services within the enterprise.

      • Mandriva 2011 daily builds
    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • The Other Side of Red Hat – an interview with Craig Muzilla

        Not just a Linux company, Red Hat has quite the middleware business, too, says Alex Handy who recently sat down with Craig Muzilla, Red Hat’s vice president and general manager of the Middleware business unit…

      • Argus Systems Group to Announce PitBull Foundation on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0

        Argus Systems Group will announce PitBull Foundation and PitBull Foundation Suite for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0 at the 2011 Unified Cross Domain Office (UCDMO) Conference being held in Chicago, Illinois from August 1-4, 2011.

      • Red Hat’s Jim Whitehurst: “I Want to Meet Linus”

        Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst is speaking this year at LinuxCon on opening day about the challenges that still lie ahead as we embark on another 20 years of Linux. We wanted to know more about Whitehurst’s perspective as we prepare for the big event and the formal celebration of the 20th anniversary of Linux. Here’s what he told us.

      • Nuts and Bolts: ‘Red Hat is more secure’

        From as rudimentary but time-tested methods like open outcry, stock exchanges have slowly embraced paper-based systems and moved to electronic and technology modernization with panache. Here’s a stock exchange that has chosen Virtualisation to power its trading platforms. It picked Red Hat Enterprise Linux and does not see any problems, existing or potential with Open Source technology alternatives. To get a lowdown on some real issues and questions, we get to chat with Gajendarnath Mudaliar, VP – Technology, Inter-connected Stock Exchange of India Ltd.

      • Enterprise Linux 5.6 to 5.7 risk report

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 was released last week (July 2011), six months since the release of 5.6 in January 2011. So let’s use this opportunity to take a quick look back over the vulnerabilities and security updates made in that time, specifically for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Server.

      • Bob Young, founder of Red Hat and Lulu, on collaboration, innovation, and standing on the shoulders of giants

        Bob Young knows about open source and innovation. He’s co-founder and former CEO of Red Hat. Founder and CEO of Lulu. Co-founder of the Center for the Public Domain. Much of his life’s endeavors have been built on innovation through collaboration. Earlier this year I saw that he was giving a talk titled, appropriately enough, “Collaborative Innovation” on the lessons he’s learned from open source and community building. I asked if he’d bring those lessons to the opensource.com audience as well, and rather than edit down the stories he shared with me, I’d like to give them all to you in his words.

      • Red Hat’s 10 years of Linux leadership

        The recent numbering change in the Linux kernel brings to a close a 10 year history of the prior kernel series. This milestone presents a good opportunity to reflect on what has been an exciting and vibrant period of time – over 10 million lines of code have been added to the Linux kernel. This is a great testament to the power of community. Over time, the contribution levels among companies has fluctuated, however, Red Hat has consistently been among the top employer contributors. The fine folks at LWN in cooperation with several developers have long maintained statistics and reported results.

      • AscendOS – new kid on the Enterprise block? But can he dance?

        CentOS and Scientific Linux and Princeton’s Pisa, among others. What was once a simple (boring?) decision for Linux admins who wanted RHEL compatibility without RHEL’s various overheads, the neighborhood is becoming more and more crowded. And now, a completely new project is working its way out of the tall grass.

      • Enterprise Linux by any other name

        I’ve been doing a fair bit or reading and writing and talking about different versions of “Enterprise Linux”, and the more I talk and think about it, the more I come to realize that I’m not as comfortable with the definition of that phrase as I would like.

        The current working definition of “Enterprise Linux” is a Linux distribution based off of the Source RPMs and build methods of RedHat Enterprise Linux. Essentially a group of people get together, put together a build infrastructure, and make a distribution using RedHat’s released sources. However, there are interpretations and changes made that make each of these distributions unique in their own right. CentOS has its issues, of course, but tries to stay as faithful as it can to the RedHat product. Scientific Linux seems to be a livelier group right now, but they’re truly making their distribution their own.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 7 “Wheezy” to introduce multiarch support

        During this year’s annual Debian Conference DebConf11 made the introduction of “multiarch support” a release goal for the coming Debian release 7 “Wheezy” to be released in 2013. Multiarch is a radical rethinking of the filesystem hierarchy with respect to library and header paths, to make programs and libraries of different hardware architectures easily installable in parallel on the very same system.

      • Better video coverage during DebConf, thanks to our sponsors!
      • What is missing in the Debian desktop, or why my parents use Kubuntu

        While at Debconf11, I have several times during discussions mentioned the issues I believe should be improved in Debian for its desktop to be useful for more people. The use case for this is my parents, which are currently running Kubuntu which solve the issues.

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint Debian: A rough diamond

          The one I liked most is Linux Mint since it was quite nicely designed (I’m quite fond of my graphics) but it was no challenge at all. Almost everything worked out of the box. A kind user suggested i try Linux Mint Debian since it’s a tad rougher than its Ubuntu-based brother (or syster, I don’t know its gender) and this is what happened:

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 225
          • International Newsmaker Q&A: Jon Melamut

            A series of software programs known as Ubuntu Core from London-based Canonical is expected to bring a vast array of improvements and additional applications to the global in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) industry. The company’s vice president of operations, products and OEM services, Jon Melamut, recently explained some of the details surrounding the technology and its potential impact on the automotive marketplace.

          • Canonical announces the Ubuntu Advantage Partner Programme for resellers
          • Unity Progress Report – Alt-Tab style
          • Ubuntu 11.04 Review

            Another feature I enjoyed about Ubuntu 11.04 is the new functionality of the workspace switcher due to the choice of Compiz as the default window manager. You can simply click on the workspace switcher in the launcher to see a fantastic panorama of all of your available workspaces and all open windows. All of your open windows will have their own icons in the launcher as well which is quite convenient. But I can’t say that I am very fond of the new Mac OS style application menus which now appear along the top panel making it virtually mandatory. But to make up for that small fault, the system and notification area in the top panel now have enhanced integration with many applications.

          • Ubuntu goes head-to-head with Red Hat and Windows in businesses

            LINUX VENDOR Canonical is going head-to-head with Microsoft and Red Hat in the enterprise market with its Ubuntu Linux distribution.

            Canonical has been developing Ubuntu for the best part of six years now to become arguably the most popular consumer oriented Linux distribution. Now Canonical has set its sights on the higher end enterprise datacentre market by partnering with companies to flog Ubuntu Advantage, a support agreement for big businesses.

          • CPU Frequency Scaling Indicator, Fixed For Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot
          • Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

            Most people, who like Linux, love Ubuntu. Oh they may object to Ubuntu’s new Unity desktop, but at day’s end, they still use Ubuntu. Technology businesses though have a more jaundiced view of Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company. Canonical, though, is now taking steps now to make its potential hardware and software partners happier.

          • Why does Ubuntu need the Canonical Contributor Agreement?

            Several very important core components in Ubuntu are covered by the Canonical Contributor Agreement. These are Canonical-owned projects and include major items like Bzr, Upstart, indicator-applet and desktop-couch, to name but a few. A full list can be seen on the Contributor Agreement page.

          • Ubuntu Development Update

            Next week Alpha 3 of Ubuntu 11.10 will be released, so everybody is currently trying to get their latest updates in and everything tidied up for a release. For today I got an update from Ubuntu Desktop Team hero Sébastien Bacher, so if you’re interested in any other aspect of Ubuntu Oneiric, I’d refer you to the oneiric-changes mailing list and the big picture specification status overview instead. So what’s happening with the Ubuntu Desktop?

          • A retrospective of the first year of Ask Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu dressed in cheap elastic support, sent out in public

            Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux variant is popular out there on the public clouds of the world, but there is a serious mismatch between how support contracts are sold for bare-metal servers used inside corporate data centers and how virtual servers are deployed and used out there on the cloud. And Canonical wants to fix that and make a bit of money, too.

            Last June, Canonical rejigged its support services for companies deploying Ubuntu Linux server and desktop variants with its Ubuntu Advantage offering. Even though this new support structure offered tiered support levels in terms of coverage time and features, and even had add-ons to give companies a break if they were deploying Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud to build an internal clone of Amazon’s EC2 cloud, what it did not do is provide pricing for support contracts running on external public clouds like EC2.

          • Canonical: 3 Signs of Progress for Ubuntu Linux Partners

            The VAR Guy has to concede: In mid-2010, he was losing faith in Canonical — promoter of Ubuntu Linux. Amid multiple management changes, Canonical seemed focused on too many different priorities. And emerging threats like Google Android seemed to suffocate Canonical’s mobile Internet device (MID) strategy and even Ubuntu’s netbook momentum. Fast forward to the present, and several business developments suggest that Canonical is finally getting the Ubuntu house in order.

          • On conquering fears and future contributions…

            The next Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS-P) is scheduled to be held in Orlando, Florida at the Caribe Royal Hotel from October 31 through November 3, 2011 and the Ubuntu Community is busy preparing blueprints, requesting sponsorships, and checking to see if all the action items from the last UDS have been completed, deferred, or are in progress. (Gotta luv those burndown charts!) Reminder sponsorship requests close on August 24, 2011.

          • GUI tool checking system and hardware information in Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu takes UFOs to the cloud
          • Full Circle 51 has arrived!
          • [Oneiric Updates] Unity 2D and Ubuntu Software Center Improvements

            A new update to Unity 2D brings it almost at par with Unity 3D as now both have same shared settings. Unity 2D now uses GTK3 rendering and also new indicators. In last few days, Ubuntu 11.10 also received many other updates bringing in changes to Ubuntu Software Center, update settings and session menu.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu to join the official Ubuntu family (Linux distro with light-weight desktop environment)

              t’s become something of a cliche to say that one way to breath new life into an older computer is to install a Linux-based operating system. But not all Linux distributions are created equal. While many can run on a PC with just a few GB of disk space or less, a small amount of RAM, and antiquated graphics, many newer Linux distros require fairly modern hardware if you really want to get the most out of the operating system.

              Ubuntu, for instances, is one of the most popular Linux operating systems around, but the system requirements for a basic installation include a 1 GHz Pentium 4 or faster processor, 512MB of RAM and 5GB of disk space. But there’s an alternative called Lubuntu which is designed to run well on computers that don’t meet those requirements.

            • Zorin OS Releases a “Lite” Version

              If your computer has put on a few pounds and needs to fit into a sleek new case, Zorin OS developers have released their “great taste, less filling” edition. Actually, Zorin OS 5 “Lite” is a more conservative version of their desktop system that’s designed for older computers.

              Zorin OS Lite is based on Lubuntu and features the LXDE desktop. Wine, VLC, and some games were removed and many other applications were switched for lighter alternatives in order to fit on a single CD and increase performance. Since it was designed with older computers in mind, it’s only available in the 32-bit variety.

            • Novacut: Not just vaporware.

              I am not here to be a cynic and say that Novacut’s funding efforts will fail (again). I am writing to say that the only way for the ideas behind Novacut to be realized is to stop pretending that throwing $25K worth of funding at it could possibly save the project. Over the past year, Novacut has put almost all effort into soliciting money. In the amount of time it would’ve taken to implement these features in existing software, Novacut has mainly been producing advertisements for itself.

            • New ISO images available : Lubuntu
            • Kubuntu 11.10 – A Very Early Review

              In the twilight hours of this morning, I thought I’d take a look at the new Kubuntu 11.10, codenamed “Oneiric Ocelot”. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, in my half-awake non-caffeinated state.

              Knowing how much you all dislike Ubuntu Unity and how many of you might be considering a change to Kubuntu, I thought you might like a non-technical peek review of Oneiric.

            • Lessons Learned: Linux + Sony Vaio F Series

              After a little over an hour of playing around with edids on my Vaio with no luck I started surfing through the comments and found a useful one. It mentioned that this setup was no longer needed with Ubuntu 10.10. After racking my brain for what the difference might be between Ubuntu 10.10 and Bodhi 1.1.0 I realized the largest difference was the kernel version. On a whim I installed the 2.6.35 kernel, installed the nvidia drivers from the Bodhi repo and poof! I was good to go (guess my first hunch about a kernel issue was correct).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM9 SBC features Linux 2.6.38, high-res touchscreen support

      Artila Electronics announced a Linux 2.6.38-ready 3.5-inch ARM9 industrial single board computer (SBC), notable for its support for up to 1280 x 860-pixel touchscreens. The M-505 is equipped with a 400MHz Atmel AT91SAM9G45 processor, 128MB of DDR2 SDRAM, 128MB NAND flash, plus Ethernet, USB, and serial I/O.

    • Old King of Computers now on Ubuntu

      If you have been using computers for a while now say around 40 years or more then you must have probably started you first lessons in computing on the Commodore 64 computer. Many modern day children and engineers won’t probably know what the Commodore 64 is. It is nothing but the old Keyboard computer which you might have now seen in old movies or preferably in museums or old government offices.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Cordia Tab, Open Tablet to cost only $300

        Just heard about a new brand tablet, Cordia Tab, an open source tablet device to bring a practical and openly hackable tablet. The tablet is able to run any Linux kernel based operating system such as Cordia HD, MeeGo, Ubuntu, and even Android OS, however it comes with Cordia HD preloaded.

      • OLPC Programs are a $25 Billion Dollar Global Economy

        Have you ever thought about to total investment in one laptop per child programs worldwide? Robert Fadel has and came up with an interesting calculation. His estimate: that one laptop per child programs – from XO laptops to Classmate PCs to EeePCs used in one-to-one educational programs – exceeds $2.5 billion dollars over the last three years…

      • Internet in a box

        I’ve been mulling over this for a while now, fiddling with hardware, software, networking, content, etc. Then, out of the blue, I had to make a *very* short trip to India on a few hours’ notice. I woke up early, dropped off my kid at summer camp, and sat down to install the OLPC XS School Server on a Fit PC. Given that we have 15 XOs or so in Bhagmalpur, a Fit PC should do. It runs at 12 volts DC and draws about 8 watts at the AC adapter end. Accounting for a 20% loss in AC-to-DC, I’d suspect the machine runs at 5 to 6 watts internally. I have a 64 GB solid state drive on this one, so no moving parts at all. After fiddling for an hour or so, I had the school server installed and ready to go. As a sidenote, I am using a mesh antenna on this install.

      • Asus Eee PC X101 With MeeGo Available for Preorder [Asus Retailers Now Accepting Orders for Cheap 10-Inch Netbook Running MeeGo Linux; Shipping in September]

        Asus has announced plans to release inexpensive netbooks under the Eee PC X101 product line. Cost is brought down by the use of modest specs and MeeGo Linux. If this is your thing, you can now pre-order the Eee PC X101, which will start shipping in September.

      • Life with an Android Tablet One Week On

        I’ve had my Asus Transformer tablet for approximately one week now. I have endeavoured to use it fairly constantly and as my sole means of computing. It has worked to varying degrees of success. After the first couple of days, I discovered that if I actually wanted to achieve anything, I needed a proper keyboard. To that end, I have ordered the keyboard docking station for the Transformer, and I am also writing this post on my three year old netbook.

        A word of warning though about the Transformer docking keyboard – buy the package of tablet and keyboard to start with! This only attracts a £50 premium over the tablet alone. Buying the docking keyboard separately has set me back almost £120. I purchased from Amazon and couldn’t find cheaper on eBay, Google’s shopping results nor Tottenham Court Road (where it was not possible to buy the keyboard as a standalone item). I’ll live and learn.

        There are both good and bad points about this Honeycomb 3.1 tablet. Let’s start with the good.

      • Quickbooks Ported to Linux

        Intuit has an app in Android Market for Quickbooks. This tool is used by many small and medium-sized business for all kinds of accounting. The port to Android/Linux will allow Quickbooks to run on any PC with an Android port. e.g. Android-x86 and dozens of smart phones and tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Project underway to achieve practical software engineering goals

    :The government is implementing a programme to develop open source software and help the students achieve practical software engineering goals.National Fund for Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) has provided Rs.37.63 million to execute the programme in National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NU-FAST), an official source on Sunday told APP that the project would also help address the issue of the scarcity of quality faculty in most of the universities.

  • The new draw of open source: innovation

    Recent observations at OSCON has demonstrated that open source can never be thought of as an also-ran again, as new technologies are now being created that show open source is now a way to innovate.

    This is not, I have to say, my idea. During yesterday’s opening session at OSCON, Jay Lyman, Senior Analyst at The 451 Group, Twittered an interesting observation: “Overwhelming message @ Oscon so far is open source now driven mostly by innovation.”

  • Ten open-source fallacies that need nailing
  • Events

    • O’Reilly Open Source Convention coming back to Portland

      Thousands of software developers will converge on Portland this week for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention – or OSCON.

      The conference, one of the largest gatherings of its kind, runs Monday through Friday at the Oregon Convention Center.

    • OSCON 2011: Open source won. Now what?

      The theme of OSCON 2011 is “From disruption to default.” While that certainly captures the status of open source these days, it isn’t exactly news to anyone attending the conference. But the welcoming keynote addresses and early sessions devoted to data scalability and Java seem to be giving attendees fuel for thought and grist for some real soul-searching as the era of open source ubiquity (if not outright dominance) begins.

    • OSCON: Open Source Awards

      At the OSCON Conference, the O’Reilly Open Source Awards have been presented. Since 2005, the event organisers have been giving out these awards to people who have made an exceptional contribution to the development of open source software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Wars: Chrome vs. IE9 vs. Firefox

      Web browsers are converging. Since the arrival of Google Chrome nearly three years ago, all browsers have come under its influence, and they’ve all moved in the same three-pronged directions—speedier page loading, cleaner user interfaces, and greater support for new Web standards. All of the major browsers—Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera—have made significant strides in each of these three dimensions. The first two qualities are pretty much universally desirable, but the “standards” support piece, while also desirable, gets sticky: Each browser seems to support a different subset of the many features that fall under the label HTML5. All you have to do is check out each browser’s HTML5 demo site. Apple’s HTML5 demos, for example, flat out won’t function unless you’re browsing with Safari. So much for “standards.”

    • Tug of war on the web
    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Our Direction from Mozilla’s Senior Leadership

        Mozilla’s longest-serving and top two leaders, Mitchell Baker and Brendan Eich, have some great information on where the project is going.

      • Shadow Layers, and learning by failing

        A hot topic for Firefox at the moment is the new out-of-process rendering, but is it common knowledge that this has already been in Firefox Mobile for a long time? For mobile, there’s what we call a ‘chrome’ process (this processes and renders the main UI) and then ‘content’ processes, which handle the rendering of the pages in your tabs. There are lots of fun and tricky issues when you choose to do things like this, mostly centering around synchronisation – and recently, I was trying to add a feature that’s lead me to writing this post.

      • The Browser By Many Other Names

        In my last post I wrote about Mozilla creating more than a browser. There are many topics in that post to be explored further. I’d like to start with a discussion of the various aspects of Firefox that are important to bringing interoperability and user sovereignty to the Internet. Then we can think about how we make these various aspects effective in changing settings.

      • Top 15 Firefox themes for this summer!
      • Mozilla’s next Firefox moment?

        The fact that there were now three good browsers supporting those standards, two of which were open source, meant that Mozilla had effectively achieved its goal of promoting a vibrant, open web – something to be celebrated, rather than fretted about.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle, SUSE, Red Hat drive 70% of LibreOffice development

      Upon the release of LibreOffice 3.4.2, the Document Foundation announced that Oracle and SUSE each contributes roughly 25 percent of the latest commits, while Red Hat contributed another 20 percent. Following Oracle’s donation of Openoffice to the Apache Foundation earlier this year, The Document Foundation wants to reassure the technology public that corporate support for LibreOffice is strong and that this Office suite is “enterprise ready.”

    • Have You Taken The LibreOffice User Survey?
  • CMS/Social Networking

  • Business


    • Emacs distributions are not GPL-compliant
    • Emacs has been violating the GPL since 2009

      The files in question have been in Emacs releases from around version 23.1.90 from late 2009 and have been circulated in 23.2 and 23.3. Stallman says that “Anyone redistributing those versions is violating the GPL, through no fault of his own”. The Emacs developers are now searching for the original source files and plan to include them in the Emacs trunk and regenerate the violating tarballs.

    • GNU Emacs Developers Will Fix It; Please Calm Down

      The story, IMO, makes the usual mistake of considering a GPL violation as an earth-shattering disaster that has breached the future of software freedom. GPL violations vary in degree of the problems they create; most aren’t earth-shattering.

  • Programming

    • Finding CPU flags using gcc
    • IDE for Ubuntu

      Linux, as with many other things, has no shortage when it comes to getting down to the more technical aspects in computing. Be it coding, testing or anything else that is related to the geeky arts, the free and open source community has a lot to offer. In this post we’ll be looking at some of the most popular and some not so popular Integrated Development Environments (IDE) out there which score a lot with regard to quality and flexibility.


  • Hardware

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin Developer Denied Entry to US by Confused Customs Agents

      It’s no great surprise that most people are confused when they first hear about the amorphous digital currency known as Bitcoin. Some customs agents in Seattle were more than a little confused when they screened a well-known Chinese Bitcoin developer. “Doctor Nefario” arrived with just $600 in cash. Agents determined he could not fund his two month stay in America, so they shipped him home, but not before asking him some questions.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Bandwidth caps are rate hikes

      Internet Service Providers in the USA are trying to apply bandwidth caps to their users, with those caps being 2, 4, or 5 gigabytes-per-month for wireless users at various price levels and generally 250 gigabytes-per-month for home users. Most of the press coverage of this issue comes down on the side of consumers but lately the ISP publicity machine has been revved-up and we’re being told that bandwidth caps are necessary, even inevitable. This is, as my 87 year-old Mom would say, BS.

TechBytes Episode 57: Desktop Choice is Grand

Posted in TechBytes at 1:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:12:32, 15.3 MB) | High-quality MP3 (27.4 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (8.3 MB)

Summary: A reasonably short episode covering Torvalds’ GNOME remarks and various other bits of news

LAST NIGHT we returned to recording after almost two weeks off. We caught up with some news about desktop environments and other such GNU/Linux-oriented topics. Update: the show notes are out.

The show includes “Sorry, Baby” by Dan Dyer and “Paganini: Cantabile” by Volodja Balzalorsky, which closes the show. We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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