11.22.11

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Links 22/11/2011: Chromebooks Get Cheaper, $60 Android Tablets, Woz Gets Android

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 things you must teach new Linux users

    During TechRepublic’s Live Event, I said that I could hand a Linux machine to new users and give them the information necessary to make sure their transition to Linux was successful–and they wouldn’t be hounding me constantly on how X is done or asking, “What is Y?”

    I could tell by the faces of the audience members that some of them wanted to know how I could make such a bold statement. With that in mind, here are 10 pieces of information to pass on to new Linux users that will ensure a successful transition.

  • Over time, Linux package dependencies show predator/prey relationship

    You’ll frequently hear references to a “software ecosystem” on various platforms, but it’s relatively rare to see someone take that sort of terminology seriously. A group of evolutionary biologists, however, has now used the tools of ecosystem analysis to look at the evolution of Debian releases, examining things like package dependencies and software incompatibility.

  • Thoughts of Thankfulness From Linux Land

    The run-up to the holidays got many in the Linux blogosphere thinking about some of the things their thankful for, and a community of technology lovers sharing free and open software was near the top of many lists. “In the end, it’s the people you end up interacting with who are more important than the actual technology,” blogger Barbara Hudson told LinuxInsider.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks drop to $299, gain Chrome OS update

      Google announced that the Wi-Fi only version of the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks, including a newly announced black version of the Samsung Chromebook, will drop $50 in price to $300. Google also released updated firmware for the Chromebooks’ Chrome operating system, featuring a new login page and a revamped New Tab page that offers new shortcuts.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Who cares about your dang Desktop Environment?!

      If you are into such things, and you place your faith on those distro popularity numbers over on DistroWatch, you’ll see that Ubuntu has dropped from its number one position, a position now held by Linux Mint. Heavens, no! Surely the universe is about to implode! And isn’t even 2012 yet!

      Sorry about that. The reason for Ubuntu’s decline from that venerated number one position has been speculated on by tea leaf readers everywhere (i.e. my fellow tech journalists). Much has been made about the Canonical’s embrace of Unity over traditional GNOME and I am among the guilty when it comes to that. I happen to dislike Unity but I do like GNOME 3. This, oddly enough, puts me at odds with the majority of people who runs GNOME in one way or another though more people seem to hate Unity than GNOME 3 — I could be wrong. The question, however, is this . . .

      Has Canonical shot itself in the foot, giving up its number one position, by adopting and sticking by Unity? Does the choice of desktop environment matter that much? Are Linux users, who traditionally just install and run whatever they want, regardless of what it presented to them, really that irked about Unity that they are abandoning Ubuntu? Okay, that’s at least three questions.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • A good GNOME 3 Experience

        I’ve been using GNOME 3 full time for over 9 months, and I find it quite usable. I’ve had to learn some new usage patterns, but I don’t see that as a negative. It’s a new piece of software, so I’m doing my best to use it the way it’s designed to be used.

        Sure, it’s different than GNOME 2. It’s vastly different. But it is a new UI paradigm. The GNOME 2 experience was over 9 years old, and largely based on the experience inherited from the old Windows 95 muxed with a bit of CDE. There were so many things that the GNOME hackers wanted to do — and lots of things all the UI studies said needed changing — that the old pattern simply couldn’t support.

  • Distributions

    • A first look at ZevenOS 2.0 “Neptune”

      Aside from the window decorations I don’t see any connection between this project and BeOS. One could get the same effect by taking a distro like SimplyMEPIS and changing the desktop theme. It’s tempting to write off ZevenOS as just another Debian derivative with a different collection of artwork, but I’m not sure that’s a fair evaluation. ZevenOS 2.0 “Neptune” doesn’t just have nice artwork, but a good collection of programs and easy-to-access documentation. It does a good job of being user-friendly while staying out of the way — desktop effects, for example, were not in evidence. ZevenOS may not be in the same class as some other Debian-based distros, such as Linux Mint “Debian” edition or SimplyMEPIS, but it’s not doing badly for such a young project. Hopefully the developers will expand on the installer and add a dedicated update utility for future releases. If you’re already happily using a Debian-based distro I don’t think there is anything here to win over hearts and minds. On the other hand, new users, especially those seeking a distribution with a German-focused forum, may find what they’re looking for in ZevenOS.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva’s Powerpack 2011 propels it back into the forefront of Linux distros

        Back in the nineties, one of the top Linux distributions was, without a doubt, Mandrake Linux. Well, that eventually turned into Mandriva which wound up caught in the midst of an identity crisis. It was becoming clear which distributions were for the new users and which distributions where for the hard-core, well-versed users. All other distributions did nothing but struggle to remain afloat. Some went away and some simply continued to fluctuate.

        Mandriva was one of the latter. Unsure of which route to take, Mandriva at any given moment was a distribution that wanted to make new users happy, while at the same time, make experienced users proud to proclaim they were among the legions of Mandriva users.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Verne with Gnome 3 – Absolute disappointment

          First, the good stuff. Fedora 16 did not have a single application crash or a SELinux alert, which is a great thing. There was the Samba problem, but it was not a crash per se. And thus endeth the good stuff. Now, the bad stuff. Where should I begin?

          Wireless takes ages to switch access points, Samba sharing is buggy, network gets slow, you must click three times just to get to your applications, and only then start sorting out what you might want or need. The interface is jerky and not very responsive. You can’t tell if you have open applications in any way, you get big, ugly prompts interfering with your work, the whole layout is annoying and counter-productive. Few of these elements should be blamed on Fedora, but Fedora’s developers chose it and they must bear the price of that decision. As a product, Verne suffers from bad integration and zero excitement.

          I have just decided I will not be testing another Gnome 3 release for at least one year, or maybe ever. In the upcoming SUSE review, it’s going to be KDE only. Well, maybe Linux Mint. I was never a great Fedora fan, but some of the releases actually made sense. You always had beta quality, little to no support, no fun software, and things changed rapidly, but the operating system could be made usable, it was fast and it was elegant in its own special way. What we have here is a Panda bear tripping a claymore wire.

        • Unknown Horizons 2011.3 for Fedora and EL6
        • Kororaa 14 Is No Longer Supported
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

            Shuttleworth, don’t be stupid. Admit that diversity is a good thing and live with it or you will soon be obsolete like that other OS.

          • Rhythmbox Is the Default Player for Ubuntu 12.04

            Jason Warner, Ubuntu Desktop Manager at Canonical, decided to make Rhythmbox the default music player in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 12′s Three Desktops

              The popular Linux distribution, Mint, will be giving its users three different distinct flavors of the GNOME for their desktop in its next release, Linux Mint 12, Lisa.

              Like any Linux you can, of course, switch it to your own choice of desktop. Many, indeed, offer users a choice of desktops. Mint, for example, while primarily a GNOME-based distribution, also offers its users a version that uses the LXDE desktop for its interface.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based GameGadget wants to become the iPod of classic portable gaming

      Anyone who wants to game on the go has a number of choices. There’s the Nintendo DS and 3DS, the PSP or the upcoming PS Vita, and then the growing competition from App Store and Android Market games running on smartphones or media players. Is there room for yet another platform? GameGadget hopes there is.

    • Phones

      • Is Amazon prepping a Kindle Phone?

        Amazon is preparing a Kindle Phone for 4Q 2012, expected to sell for as low as $150 to $170, says Citigroup. Meanwhile, Foxconn, which is rumored to be building the smartphone, will help build an upcoming 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire, says a report, and Piper Jaffray has upgraded its Kindle Fire 4Q sales estimates from 2.5 million to four million units.

      • Android

        • Google guru blasts Android virus doomsayers as ‘charlatans’

          Google’s open-source program manager has launched an entertaining rant against firms offering mobile security software, accusing them of selling worthless software and of being “charlatans and scammers”.

          Chris DiBona, Google’s open-source programs manager, argues that neither smartphones based on Google’s Android nor Apple’s iOS need anti-virus protection. Anyone telling you different is a snake-oil salesman, he said.

        • Asus Padfone specs leaked by GLBenchmark

          The Padfone is a smartphone-tablet hybrid. It includes a fully functional Android smartphone, along with a tablet docking station. Just slap the phone into the docking station and you can use a higher resolution 10 inch display instead of a 4 inch phone screen. The dock also has its own battery.

          [...]

          Right now it also appears to have a top clock speed of 918 MHz, but that could change by release.

        • Apple co-founder gets Google Android phone

          Wozniak, who has previously expressed his admiration for the Google Android operating system, was given a Samsung Galaxy Nexus device when he visited the search giant’s campus. He had previously said on Twitter that he was thinking about getting one, which is the first phone to run Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

          Wozniak was, however, also first in line the for the Apple iPhone 4S when it was released earlier this year. He has previously said that he bought Google’s first phone, the Nexus One, on the day it was released and that he tries to keep up with all the latest mobile developments.

        • HTC to focus on quad-core tablet PCs and smartphones in 2012

          HTC will focus on the production of quad-core tablet PCs and smartphones in the first half of 2012 competing with comparable devices to be released by rivals including Asustek Computer, Acer, Samsung Electronics and Lenovo, according to industry sources.

        • Top Free Android Comic Book Viewers
        • Apple co-founder gets Google Android phone

          Wozniak, who has previously expressed his admiration for the Google Android operating system, was given a Samsung Galaxy Nexus device when he visited the search giant’s campus. He had previously said on Twitter that he was thinking about getting one, which is the first phone to run Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • $60 tablet aims to bring internet to developing world

        They say the beauty of UbiSlate, an Android-based tablet, is that users will be able to obtain quality internet access using existing low-speed cellphone networks.

      • Don’t call it a tablet: the Kindle Fire reviewed

        Before it was announced, the Kindle Fire was rumored to be Amazon’s entry into the Android tablet market. To get a serious tablet, even a small one, at the Kindle Fire’s price of $199 would have been a holiday miracle.

        But in our time with the Kindle Fire, it fell far short of what tablets should be able to accomplish. As a vector for Amazon’s video and music stores and huge e-book selection, it’s great. As an e-reader, it’s merely OK. As an Internet and app portal, it falls short of Amazon’s promises.

      • Kindle hackers give Nook a thorough rooting

        The Android-based device, only unveiled by Barnes & Nobles in the US last week, was pwned by the same group of developers who previously rooted the Amazon Kindle Fire. In both cases rooting the devices gives users the ability to install apps themselves, rather than been restricted to those offered by the manufacturer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache moves Geronimo to OSGi base

    In an attempt to help developers create more modular enterprise Java programs, the Apache Software Foundation has reconfigured its Geronimo application server to a set of standards established by the OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative) Alliance.

    An application server based on the OSGi standard “is a lot more dynamic and provides a lot more structure to the developers,” said Kevan Miller, chairman of the Geronimo Project management committee.

  • Open source biometrics technology for mobile devices, PCs and servers

    DigitalPersona has open sourced its new MINEX-certified FingerJetFX fingerprint feature extraction technology.

    FingerJetFX, Open Source Edition (OSE), is free, portable software that device manufacturers and application developers can use to convert bulky fingerprint images into small, mathematical representations called fingerprint “templates” for efficient storage or comparison.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – The Pretrial Issues

      Now that almost all of the motions have been disposed of (the remaining motion open being Oracle’s motion to exclude portions of the damage reports from Drs. Leonard and Cox on behalf of Google), the focus turns to how to conduct the trial, and once again we see the sides at odds. This is not really surprising. How issues are dealt with at trial and the instructions given to the jury will be huge factors in the outcome of this dispute, especially on the copyright side of the ledger.

Leftovers

  • Chief rabbi: Steve Jobs’ Apple lust spreads misery, despair

    Steve Jobs has created a consumer society that makes many of us sad because we don’t have the latest iPhone, said the UK’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Speaking at an interfaith gathering attended by the Queen, Sacks compared the iPad to the tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from the mountains.

    “The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTunes, i, I, I,” he said.

    “When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about ‘I’, you don’t do terribly well.”

  • Dennis Ritchie: The geek Prometheus
  • Security

  • Finance

    • Weekly Financial Biz Recap: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs Employees Bail, Warren Buffett Antes Up

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) announces an unusually high number of partner retirements internally in recent weeks. Kevin Kennedy and Jeff Resnick are among the top well-known Wall Street names leaving. Kennedy was running Latin American operations, and Resnick was head of commodity trading.

      [...]

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM)have sold CDS protection on more than $5T of debt around the globe. However, don’t expect to get detail on which it was that sold. The banks have hedged themselves perfectly, and are not likely to divulge how they did so, unless they suffer a run similar to what has occurred to Jefferies (NYSE:JEF).

    • Thomas Cook plunges on £1bn debt fears

      Shares in Thomas Cook Group fell by more than 70 per cent after a further deterioration in trading forced the troubled tour operator to renegotiate the terms of its £1bn net debt burden for the second time in a month.

      [...]

      Paul Hollingworth, finance director, said: “We are confident that we will get the full support of our lenders. The rational and right thing for them to do is to support Thomas Cook over this period until we can trade robustly in the peak season.”

      The announcement prompted Thomas Cook to delay the release of its full-year results, which were originally scheduled for November 24.

    • Views on the OCCUPY Amendment

      As the struggle in the streets intensifies, and Occupy Wall Street refuses to remain silent, it’s good to know there are champions in Congress who have stepped up to the challenge of amending the US Constitution. It’s called OCCUPIED: Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy, here.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New Book Discusses the Media’s Role in Perpetuating Racism

      An epic new book examines the crucial role press and media have played over time in perpetuating racist views in American culture. “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the U.S. Media,” by Juan Gonzalez and Joe Torres, examines Americans’ chronic discontent with the media. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media has historically distorted the news and gives numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters have actually encouraged violence towards minorities and ethnic groups through their coverage.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Interview with a Pirate

        In 2009, Amelia Andersdotter, a member of the Swedish Pirate Party (Piratpartiet), won a seat at the European Parliament in Brussels, but her official appointment was delayed until this year. Despite the delay in taking her seat, Andersdotter will still be the youngest member to hold a seat in the current parliament.

        The Pirate Party and open source software are intertwined. Back in December 2009, the group released a Tor server for anonymous communication and an Etherpad service, PiratePad, for real-time collaboration on texts.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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