Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 28/03/2009: Many GNU/Linux Releases, Free Software in Governments

GNOME bluefish



  • An Open-Source Presidency
    While the U.S. has lagged behind other countries in open-source software adoption, the economic crisis will change that. Already more than 15% of the software that runs servers deployed by the U.S. government use Linux, the popular open-source operating system. We can do more.

  • Migrating the enterprise to Linux, 10 things clarified
    Any decision about any IT migration should be taken carefully, and all arguments pro and contra should be weighed in. There is no way one could ever say based on zero information if it is a good decision to start a migrating path to Linux. The article was only mentioning a few arguments for Linux adoption, and therefore it wasn't balanced by definition. If it would have been a balanced list of arguments for or against Linux in the enterprise, it would have been named different, and it would probably have been a list a mile long.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Catalyst 9.3 For Linux Brings OpenGL Composite Support
      While the Catalyst driver for Windows was released a number of days ago, the Catalyst Linux driver was missing. It has, however, been released today. AMD's Linux engineers ended up delaying the Catalyst 9.3 release so they could spend additional time tuning this driver, since it will be the last release that supports the R300 through R500 series as the support is being dropped. The significant feature that was pushed back into the Catalyst 9.3 Linux driver is improved Composite support.

    • Open-Source R600 OpenGL Support May Come Soon
      As AMD is still working on code review and obtaining permission to push out different pieces of code, much of the OpenGL work has been going on behind the scenes in a private code repository rather than in the open and needing to get permission before each commit. AMD's John Bridgman shared this morning on the RadeonHD IRC channel that the OpenGL work is not finished yet but "a bunch of things work" and he hopes to be able to get the R600/700 Mesa code pushed into the public tree over the next week or so.

    • Video Interview with Kernel Developer Peter Anvin
      Bootloader Syslinux developer Peter Anvin, since 1992 kernel developer, gives an insight into his work.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gnome 2.26 - Small review of interesting features
      Brasero always seemed to be the burning tool to use under linux. Or the one most used. It didn’t made much sense to have nautilus-cd-burner (which has been removed in gnome 2.26) while most people preferred brasero. Brasero is also integrated in nautilus (go to Applications -> System Tools -> CD/DVD Creator) and seems to be offering the same as nautilus-cd-burner had. I didn’t test it yet. In my opinion it’s a wise decision of gnome to make the move to brasero.

  • Distributions

    • Kubuntu 9.0.4 ScreenShots Beta
      Here is my first of many ScreenShots of the 9.0.4 beta Jaunty Jackalope series of ubuntu Based Distros. Enjoy the screen shots below...

    • Red Hat: recession is good for our business
      The global economic downturn has compelled a growing number of companies to search for ways to reduce IT costs. Uptake of open source software is climbing in this environment, which means more opportunities for the companies that have built their businesses around the open source Linux platform.

      Red Hat, one of the most prominent commercial Linux vendors, reported its quarterly earnings Thursday and revealed that its total annual revenue was $652 million, an increase of 25 percent over the previous year. Subscriptions to Red Hat's commercial support service, which accounts for $541 million of that revenue, were up 20 percent. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, a former Delta Airlines COO who joined Red Hat in 2007, cites the recession as a factor that has contributed to the company's success.

    • New Releases

      • Frugalware 1.0 (Anacreon) released
        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.0, our tenth stable release. The version number 1.0 does not indicate anything really special, the new release will bring you as many new features and bugfixes as usual, but it's still a milestone in the development of the last five years.

      • PC/OS 10, Open64 and more
        We are hard at work for PC/OS 10, Open64 and PC/OpenSuite for Windows. There are no delays expected with PC/OpenSuite for Windows scheduled for an April 15th release. So far testing is going great and we are even considering a theme to replace the default Windows theme with ine that shows the PC/OS logo. We are working with an updated GUI for PC/OS 10 and Open64. Will it be the final? probably, but probably not.

      • Absolute 12.2.3 released
        This release brings kernel-, (seeing how Slackware updated their kernel the day after our last release. Bad luck, there.) Only a few other changes. New freetype and cairo working fine, when I first updated I must have ended up with a corrupt download or a bad burn on a disc -- because I had trouble at first but smooth sailing since.

      • Elive 1.9.24 development released
        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the development version 1.9.24

        Big Updates

        * Debian: We have finished syncing the repositories using the new Debian Lenny Stable, enjoy it. * E17: Updated Enlightenment 17 with new features. You will notice that the 'switch desktops by moving the mouse to the edge screen' does not work on this version anymore, for that, enable the new module.

      • Scientific Linux Live CD/DVD 5.3
        Scientific Linux Live CD/DVD 5.2 has been released for i386 and x86_64

        Just one week after releasing Scientific Linux 5.3, I'm pleased to say that Scientific Linux Live CD/DVD 5.3 has been released for i386 and x86_64. Thanks to everyone who tested it.

      • [Puppy Linux 4.1.2 Released]

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny ARM9 SBC runs Angstrom Linux
      Hark Technologies announced a 2.4 x 4-inch ARM9 single-board computer (SBC) that runs OpenEmbedded Angstrom Linux. The LE-9260 incorporates an Atmel AT91SAM9260 processor clocked to 200MHz, features a "fully accessible" 32-bit expansion bus, and ships with an optional baseboard, says the South Carolina-based company.

    • Phones

      • The Driving Force Behind the Open Source Mobile Movement
        Device and hardware makers are discovering the flexibility of the Linux stack as the foundation of a platform for mobile applications that bring value to the wares they want to sell. Complications exist, but manufacturers are working through them to further drive the adoption of the Linux stack.

      • Awesome Tweet: Peter Rojas Says Flash Coming to Android
        A lot has been said of Adobe’s failure to port Flash to the iPhone and I find it curious that another firm would be contracted to port it to Android.

      • Study: Android to lead smartphone growth
        Infonetics Research released a study that projects that the smartphone market will continue to grow despite an eight percent drop in mobile-phone sales this year. The report also predicts that "open source platforms like Android" are leading the way in shaping the smartphone market.

      • Openmoko to Present FreeRunner Embedded Mobile Platform at Special Session During Embedded Systems Conference
        Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO of Openmoko, will talk about the FreeRunner in an interview with Bill Gatliff, Contributing Editor for Embedded Systems Programming Magazine, and a presenter and member of the Advisory Panel for the Embedded Systems. Following the interview, TechInsights, organizers of the Embedded Systems Conference, and Openmoko will give away an Openmoko FreeRunner to five audience members. Openmoko is also offering a show special, reducing the price of the FreeRunner from $399 to $299 for 30 days.

      • Open source meets mobile
        Mozilla is looking for feedback from developers and users, who increasingly expect their mobile browsers to deliver a near-desktop experience. For example, Fennec features add-on support, as well as the ability to edit bookmark folders. Fennec will be using the TraceMonkey JavaScript compiler to produce quicker startup times on applications as well as faster panning and zooming. Mozilla is apparently shooting for a release by the end of this year; we can't wait to see this fox in action.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu's LPIA-based MID Edition Can Save 10%+ Power
        When it comes to putting Ubuntu Linux on mobile devices, Canonical has two flavors of their popular Linux distribution to suit the needs of vendors and end-users: Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Ubuntu MID. The former targets netbook computers (hence its name), particularly those with Intel Atom processors, and brings a unique interface atop GNOME.

      • Why Palm’s WebOS Could Shake up the Netbook World
        1. WebOS is the most attractive and intuitive Linux OS. Ever. Yes, distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint look nice, and I’m sure Android will make some waves in the netbook arena (Asus is rumored to be working on a system) but WebOS is far and away the most consumer-friendly mobile OS I’ve seen. It just looks polished and slick–and no offense–doesn’t feel like you’re using Linux. Given that Microsoft is considering selling crippled netbooks with a Starter edition of Windows 7 that can run only three apps simultaneously (presumably in the hopes of upselling to a premium version) Dell or another PC manufacturer would be wise to either inquire about licensing WebOS or acquire Palm outright.

Free Software/Open Source

  • [theora] libtheora 1.1alpha1 (thusnelda) release
    This is a very alpha release, and may be unstable. We're making it more widely available at this point to facilitate wider testing and try to flush out those issues. The primary change is a completely rewritten encoder with vastly improved quality vs. bitrate in the default vbr/constant-quality mode, and better tracking of the target bitrate in cbr mode. There are some minor changes to the decoder and examples, but the new encoder is the reason to try out this release.

  • Microsoft's many open-source faces
    What the !%!%!% is going on? Has Microsoft listened to itself lately?

    Of course it has. Microsoft is simply going through growing pains as it learns to adapt to the open-source friendly world in which it lives. Any big company will both compete with and collaborate with open-source software, and Microsoft is no exception. What we're witnessing is the natural inconsistencies made public through Microsoft's efforts to get open source right.

  • Open source, Twitter and narcissm
    The Guardian said the draft review requires primary school children to be familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication.


    But from this FOSS bloggist's view-point it's all a bit confusing: on one hand, congrats to Sir Jim for his modernity and open-sourcity. Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia. All Free*, Open Source software innovations (or at least powered by the LAMP/LAPP stack). I salute him.

  • Hackertopia and Piracy, Inc.
    What an opportune time for Open Source to surge ahead. The increasing maturity of open source software has won over many holdouts, and the recession has driven many towards open source software to cut costs. Yet, software is merely the vanguard of the immense Open Source movement. There are countless projects in the fields of music, art, food, electronics, beer, automobiles, sanitation, tractors, you name it.

  • Web content management vendors turn to open source search
    Web content management (WCM) vendors are increasingly bundling open source site search functionality into their products, rather than recommending third-party alternatives, according to the Web CMS Report 2009 from CMS Watch.

  • OpEd: The Future of Open Source
    Erik suggests this will drive productivity and shift developers' orientation from features to application composition, and programming from the creation of features to the creation of the "glue code" that binds together pre-built components. I think he's quite right.

    In fact, we're seeing this future play out every day as software developers face an embarrassment of riches in community-contributed languages, frameworks and components.

  • Business

    • How to choose the right open source solution for your business
      While options for open source solutions and other types of free software abound, many IT executives struggle with finding the best alternative that fits their business' needs and their IT architecture.

    • Interview with eZ Systems - Lessons from 10 Years of Open Source
      After 10 years in the business, eZ Systems’ core product, eZ Publish (news, site) — a PHP-based open source web content management system — has undergone some major changes. As one of the early module based systems and a front runner of open source cms, eZ Publish has seen everything from a limited amount of allowed modules to major integration with other eZ Systems products like eZ Find and even the movement towards a SaaS Web CMS model.

    • Results Are In for Future of Open Source Survey
      Respondents to the survey cited Ingres, Red Hat and Alfresco as top open source companies to watch. When asked if growing open source usage is resulting in increased application complexity, 58 percent said it introduced more complexity, 25 percent said less complexity, and 17 percent said no more or less.

    • The Open Source CRM Argument: Where Does Your Company Fall?
      “Open source CRM, when it’s sitting on top of Asterisk especially, is a great advantage as it reduces call center operating costs by two-thirds or more,” said Martin Schneider, director of product marketing at SugarCRM Inc. Digium Inc.'s Asterisk, the world's largest open source telephony project with 1.5 million downloads in 2008, is free.

    • The Future of Open Source Technology and Acquia
      North Bridge Venture Partners, one of the investors in Acquia where I work, recently conducted a survey on the future of open source software. The 435 respondents consisted of mostly open source vendors, software developers, consultants, integrators, and private sector companies. An overwhelming 96%, up from 81% in 2008, believe the economic turbulence is good for open source software.

    • Open Source Toolkit for Job Hunters
      Once you are in the interview process with an organization, you may be asked to do a presentation to prove your knowledge and skills. (Even if you're not, you might want to think about doing one.) KPresenter 1.6.1 is the open source presentations part of the KOffice suite. This project is excellent for combining text and graphics into slides either for on-screen presentation or handouts. If your potential employer has you interviewing with a globally dispersed team, you can use KPresenter to put your presentation online using the HTML slideshow functionality, allowing everyone to see your presentation easily.

    • Open source in a down economy: The video
      In case you weren't able to attend the Open Source Business Conference today, or simply arrived too late to hear my opening remarks, I shared this video to illustrate how open source is rising...even as the economy falls.

    • Nuxeo

  • Security

    • Is open source safer?
      According to Hasson, the uptake and awareness of open source software is rapidly increasing, and there are more malware threats targeting proprietary software, making open source a safer choice.

    • IT security on the cheap
      One difference has been the school's willingness to employ open source software tools, and he encouraged those even in more buttoned-down organizations to give them a whirl. "You will not find 'cheap but perfect' when using open source," but you might find good enough tools that can save you tens of thousands of dollars vs. commercial offerings, he said. "Tools are getting better and upgrades are coming faster in part because more people are using them and giving more feedback." Sherry noted that Brown runs risk assessments on open source tools just like it would on any other tools.

  • Funding

    • Open Source Casino To Fund Open Source
      Linux Fund is pleased to announce Linux Fund Casino, an open source online gaming site that will launch immediately upon the impending repeal of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the proceeds of which will benefit Linux Fund's mission to support open source software.


    • Free Software and Copyright Law:
      Yesterday I attended a talk given by Richard Stallman here at Temple, on copyright law's increasing dis-utility (and Stallman’s proposals for reform of that law).

      Stallman, needless to say, is a fascinating character. He’s already a major figure in the history of computing and computers, and it may turn out that he’s a major figure in the history of the production of creative works more generally – time will tell about that. Twenty-five years ago, he had a ridiculous – borderline insane, really – idea: “free software” ("free," as he takes pains to remind us, in the sense “free speech,” not “free beer”). Large numbers of people could collaborate to produce functioning and efficient software systems that would be outside of anyone’s proprietary control? Why would anyone do that? Where’s the incentive? Who’s going to work “for free”? Who would be in charge? How could they all possibly make it work on the technical side?

      Of course, he managed to pull it off – not on his own, to be sure, but he surely deserves a great deal of the credit for the success of open source software, software which now dominates a number of important segments of the computer universe and which is becoming more and more central to the business models of even the giants in the industry (e.g., Sun Microsystems and IBM).

  • Sun

    • Videos: get involved!
      The idea is very simple: webcams are very popular, almost every new laptop has one. So you might have one, and if not, you probably know someone who has one, and can lend it to you. You could make a "living" postcard: get in front of the camera and tell why OOo is special and how to get involved.

    • Sun Sees the Cloud as Its Chance to Shine
      The future of open source computing, and indeed, the future of computing in general, lies in cloud computing, according to Jonathan Schwartz, president and CEO of Sun Microsystems.

    • Business Software: Open Source and Cloud Computing
      There has been a lot of press on cloud computing applications. Cloud computing delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. On the customer side, it means no upfront investment in servers or software licensing; on the provider side, costs are low compared to conventional hosting.

    • Sun's McNealy touts open source, bashes Oracle and IBM
      Like the man who succeeded him at the job of CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, McNealy also loudly beat the open source drum, but in his own inimitable style. Open source code is less buggy and more stable than proprietary code and insulates companies from the "shelf-life-of-a-banana problem" in which technology becomes obsolete 18 months after it was released.

    • Sun Microsystem's chief executive Jonathan Schwartz pushes open source and free software as he launches Sun Cloud.
      “In the technology marketplace - Linux, Java, MySQL, Firefox, Apache, Eclipse, NetBeans,, OpenSolaris – the same applies: Free is a universal price, requires to currency translation, and reaches the longest tail of the market.”

      By investing heavily in FOSS, Schwartz said, Sun earns the “attention and engagement” of people they might otherwise never reach. Developers in turn improve on the open source product, anchoring those developers more firmly to the open source platform.

    • Cernunnos Project Announces 1.1 Release of Open Source, Reusable Libraries for Java Environments

    • Open source Java projects: Jakarta Cactus
      Unit tests require a granularity that is hard to achieve when testing components inside of a server-side container -- which is exactly why some test-driven developers use Jakarta Cactus. Cactus extends the popular JUnit testing framework with an in-container strategy that enables you to execute test cases for servlets, EJBs, and other server-side code. In this Open source Java projects installment, Steven Haines shows you how to write Cactus test cases for a servlet and run them automatically.

  • Government

    • UK government and open source adoption in a recession
      Last month the UK Cabinet Office released a short document entitled 'Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use: Government Action Plan' that redefines, among other things, the UK government's approach to open source software. Part of the document is well thought through. The rest is less engaging. For more information, see our forthcoming report entitled 'UK government and open source adoption in a recession'.

    • DISA and OSSI collaborate to expand strategic open source opportunities for Government IT systems
      The DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) announced today a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between DISA and OSSI, a US-based non-profit membership organization.

      The CRADA involves release of an open source version of DISA's internally-developed Corporate Management Information System (CMIS) for the purpose of a collaborative partnership between Government, non-profit organizations, academia and industry to research and develop state-of-the-art capabilities and functionality for DISA software for use by DoD, the Federal Government, state and local governments and the public. The CMIS program is a web-based Federal administrative software suite consisting of more than 50 applications which handles human resource, training, security, acquisition and related functions for DISA's more than 16,000 users worldwide.

    • BJP to Adopt Open Source, Connect District Offices
      According to Bora, BJP is probably the only large organization in the country, which is going 100 percent open source. The party has also developed an open-source IP-based Unified Communication (UC) system that facilitates IP-based telephony, instant messages, and video telephony in both- individual and broadcast mode

  • Programming

    • Jetty moves to Eclipse
      Some components, developed under the umbrella of the Jetty project, have been spun out into their own projects, or become modules with their own release cycles. For example, the cometD implementation has moved from Jetty's contrib repository to the Dojo Foundations project.

    • Google promotes summer open-source internships
      At least, that’s what Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) hopes. On a trip to Google’s Cambridge office last week, Chris DiBona, Google’s open-source program manager, talked about the Summer of Code, the Mountain View, Calif., company’s global open-source internship program.


  • Government may lift lid on NHS IT project secrecy
    The government may do a dramatic U-turn and start releasing the findings of its Gateway Review project management reports on major IT projects.

  • Lobbyists May Subvert Disclosure Laws to Lobby on Stimulus
    The administration really touched a nerve by requiring that lobbyist meetings actually be disclosed to the public. It looks like lobbyists are declaring war on any expansion of lobbyist disclosure laws

    This action by the lobbying community also provides more grease for the gears to expand the definition of registered lobbyists in Washington. There are far too many non-lobbyist lobbyists in this city.

  • Open Source Knowledge Stack Call for Contributors
    The Interactive Knowledge Stack (IKS) project is relatively new, formed in January 2009 in part with funding from the European Commission. Its goal is to provide an open source technology stack for adding semantic web enhancements to existing open source content management systems.

  • Copyrights

    • Sleight Of Hand: If We Don't Call It DRM, We Can Pretend That DRM Is Gone
      [I]t's quite clear that many in the content industry still believe DRM is a good idea (or, rather a "necessary" idea), despite the fact that it doesn't work. DRM, despite what they might say, does not "enable new business models" at all.

    • PRS Threatens Woman For Playing Radio To Her Horses Without Paying A Licensing Fee
      The latest (sent in by a few folks) is that PRS has now threatened a woman who plays classical music to her horses in her stable to keep them calm. She had been turning on the local classical music station, saying that it helped keep the horse calm -- but PRS is demanding £99 if she wants to keep providing such a "public performance." And it's not just a one-off. Apparently a bunch of stables have been receiving such calls.

      Obviously, this is not a case of random excessive attempts by PRS to squeeze more money out of people. It's become systematic. The group seems to believe that playing music in almost any situation now constitutes a public performance and requires a licensing fee. You just know they're salivating over the opportunity to go after people playing music in their cars with the windows down.

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