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Links 16/04/2009: GNU/Linux Business Up, More Devices

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  • System76: Ubuntu PC Maker’s Revenue Up 61 Percent
    The New York Times recently reported that Canonical’s annual revenue was about $30 million. That’s impressive for an open source company. But remember: Red Hat generates more than $650 million in annual revenue. And Red Hat’s revenue grew more than $130 million in 2009 — meaning that Red Hat is pulling away from Canonical even as Canonical continues to grow.

  • Microsoft trashes its brand -- and Apple's the winner
    Linux looks to be a big desktop OS winner -- at least in the enterprise. White reckoned that, in the 2007 version of this annual survey, 42 per cent said they’d switch to Linux, but two years later in 2009, half said they’d switch. And when asked if they either had switched or were in the process of switching, nine per cent said yes in 2007, 11 per cent in 2008 and 14 per cent this year.

  • Microsoft Windows 7: Upgrade or just buy a pizza?
    BusinessWeek is running a piece on Microsoft's latest attempts to fight back against Apple and Linux and its secret strategy to force unwitting Windows users to upgrade to various flavors of Windows 7.

  • Alcatel-Lucent Networking Embraces Linux, NAC
    Sitting inside of every networking device is an operating system. In the case of Alcatel-Lucent, that operating system is the Alcatel-Lucent Operating System (AOS), which today is getting a significant new upgrade -- even though it could be one of the last AOS releases before the company moves it to Linux.

    The new AOS version 6.3.4 integrates network access control (NAC) directly into the operating system, a move that comes as intelligence is becoming increasingly part of the network fabric, rather than an add-on.

  • The difference between Linux and Windows
    What all this means for end-users is that if you really want the best of the best and the most secure systems possible, Linux is clearly the better choice. Windows like the dinosaurs is much slower than the quick and clever Linux mammals.

  • Aware A-View netbook with detachable screen, only $150
    Details are a bit scarce here, but Taiwan’s Aware Electronics has apparently been the talk Global Sources trade show, introducing a new netbook with a nice surprise. It features a detachable screen. The only other info is that it will come have just 512MB of RAM, an 8GB SSD, and either Windows or Linux for an OS.

  • Linux Works Even When Your PC is Committing Suicide
    My troubleshooting was rather hasty and disorganized, though it did finally lead to a solution. What can I say, there are good days and there are twitterpated days. As so many readers of my blog suggested, the first thing I should have done was boot up a live Linux CD. That is a fast way to determine if the problem is hardware or software; if the live CD boots normally then the hardware is OK. It would have saved me some time.

  • You have work to do? Well so do I!
    Fortunately with Linux we can do our work and let them do their work too. While they are happily working away on their urgent work we are connected through the wire in the back of their computer and are performing our own computing miracles.

  • Roku—Breaking the Linux Not Invited Rule
    Many of you probably are familiar with the Roku media streaming device. In a partnership with Netflix, the Roku is one of several officially supported devices for streaming the large collection of Netflix's available movies and television shows. What makes the Roku interesting is that although Netflix doesn't support streaming its DRM-protected movies to Linux users, the Roku itself runs Linux.

  • Automation computer runs Linux from flash
    Moxa has announced a 19-inch rackmount computer that is intended for power substations and other industrial automation applications. The DA-681 runs Linux from flash storage and includes a 1GHz Celeron processor, four RS232 ports, eight RS485 ports, six Ethernet ports, and dual power inputs, says Moxa.

  • NSW Government not giving away Linux vs Microsoft details
    I pursued the office of Hon. Verity Firth, Minister for Education. I’d asked if it was possible to get information detailing the companies who had tendered, the technical specifications of their hardware and software, and their costings.

    After a fortnight of calls and e-mails I received a single paragraph response.


    He said, “NSW DET manages one of the most extensive and complex information technology environments in the world. Operating systems and application software for teaching and learning are selected to account for their fitness to purpose, affordability and manageability in DET’s network. On this occasion NSW DET determined that a Microsoft-based solution best met its needs, particularly with respect to multimedia applications. A range of operating systems and applications was offered to meet the NSW DET requirement, including solutions based on Apple, Linux and Microsoft platforms. Each offering was methodically assessed through the different phases of the procurement process, with solutions based on Linux and Windows finally being considered.”

    No vendor names. No specifications. No costings.

  • An interview with Codename
    8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?

    I’d definitely like to see Linux in general expand on to the desktop market, which we have kind of seen today. I mean Dell offers computers pre-installed with Ubuntu which is great. I also love the fact that Asus has the option you can buy a Eee PC with Linux pre-installed, I think that’s a step forward. I wish for Ubuntu and Linux in general the best.

  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 6
      In this episode: Gtk+ developers announce plans for version 3. Microsoft proclaims 96% domination of the netbook market and both Mono 2.4 and MonoDevelop 2.0 are released. Is the new Linux Spotify library a good thing and should netbook manufacturers standardise on a single distribution?

    • Linux Outlaws 87 - Broadcasting Uranus
      This week: Dan talks about Arch some more, Fab gives you tips on remastering Ubuntu and we also have your usual Linux news, Microsoft-bashing and dirty in-jokes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Exciting changes in the 2.6.30 Linux kernel
      Every Linux kernel release has interesting changes but 2.6.30 really stands out to me as having a lot of features I would like to take advantage. In 2.6.29 the only really great feature to me was the inclusion of barrier support for simple DM devices. It’s only 1 change but an important one in my opinion as it will allow an increase in either performance or reliability for LVM and dm-crypt devices. But 2.6.30 has a lot of changes that I am likely to take advantage of such as:

      * The addition of nilfs - I’ve tested nilfs and I am happy to see it adopted. I’ve run into problems using it but would like to see it become stable. It seems likely to beat btrfs as the first stable Linux disk filesystem with snapshots.


    • Ext3 ‘data=guarded’ mode coming for Linux kernel 2.6.30?
      There were some patches from Theodore T’so - the Ext4 maintainer, Jens Axboe - the block layer maintainer, Chris Mason - the Btrfs developer et al. An overview of the discussion can be found at, here.

    • ATI vs. NVIDIA on Linux - the showdown
      Almost five years have passed since my last formal comparison of ATI and NVIDIA on Linux. At the time, it was only a brief mention as part of a larger tutorial article, and the result was "an NVIDIA card three times cheaper is three times faster". Since then, I've let the impressions left on me remain, and have been pretty religious in buying NVIDIA hardware, to ensure performance under Linux.

    • PulseAudio with Bluetooth support
      Following a good two months of testing, the development team has released a version 0.9.15 of PulseAudio.

  • Terminal

    • CMus Review - A Great ncurses Music Player
      Overall, except for the lack of support, CMus is one hell of an audio player for using in a terminal or in an environment without X. It is lightweight, powerful, fast, highly configurable and it seems, at least to me, intuitive and easy to use once you grasp the commands and keyboard shortcuts. A great piece of software, and I really hope for a future release to include by default integration.

    • More lightweight diversions
      A couple more, that deviate slightly. Terminal-based entertainment, short of watching movies piped through aalib, could always take the obvious route and remain text-based, as it was a long time ago. To that end it’s still possible to play some telnet games, including Space Tyrant, which is still maintained too.

  • Applications

    • Desktop Linux Video App Roundup
      While the Mac does provide great applications such as iMovie at almost no cost, other apps for this platform do cost plenty. So unless you have the budget of a small independent film being supported by third-party contributors, going with the Mac for the most powerful software might not always be a viable plan.

      But what about those of us on Linux? There's a persistent belief with this platform that there's really nothing available that can create a usable experience for newer video editors, not to mention seasoned professionals. Understanding this perception, I'll show you that this is not entirely true.

    • 4 IM Clients for Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope - Overview
      This article is an overview of 4 most popular IM clients available on Linux, and particularly in the upcoming release of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope. I included only graphical applications here, but I'm sure I'll make a review of several command-line clients in the near future too. I also decided not to include Sim and KMess, since currently they only offer versions for KDE3.

    • IN DEPTH: VirtualBox 2.2.0, the free Virtualizer
      Bryan and Chris review the latest release of VirtualBox, which includes Guest openGL support with working Compiz in Linux guests. What sets VirtualBox apart? Where can it improve? We discuss!

    • 5 Apps Every Self Respecting Linux User Should Have
      Linux distros come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the one thing that is pretty consistent through all of them are the applications you can use. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of available apps in the Linux universe, here are 5 that no self respecting Linux user should ever be caught without.

    • 4 IM Clients for Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope - Overview
      This article is an overview of 4 most popular IM clients available on Linux, and particularly in the upcoming release of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope. I included only graphical applications here, but I'm sure I'll make a review of several command-line clients in the near future too. I also decided not to include Sim and KMess, since currently they only offer versions for KDE3.

    • SMILE - Powerful Slideshow Maker In Linux
      SMILE is a slideshow building program by Stephane Gibault, author of manDVD, and is the successor to manslide.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME 2.26.1 Released!
      This is the first update to GNOME 2.26. It contains the usual mixture of bug fixes, translations updates and documentation improvements that are the hallmark of stable GNOME releases, thanks to our wonderful team of GNOME contributors!

      The next stable version of GNOME will be GNOME 2.26.2, which is due on May 20. Meanwhile, the GNOME community is actively working on the development branch of GNOME that will become GNOME 2.28 in late September 2009.

    • GNOME 2.26.1 Fixes Various Bugs
      Some of the changes in Totem movie player 2.26.1 include: the screenshot capture keyboard shortcut was changed from Shift+S to Ctrl+S; the seekbar is now reset after closing a file; renamed files are not removed from the playlist anymore; the icon is now correctly reset when disabling the thumbnail plugin.

    • 10 (Latest) Beautiful Plasma Themes for KDE 4 Desktop
      Since a lot of you loved our collection of some of the most beautiful Plasma Themes for KDE 4 desktop, we decided to give you more. This time, we compiled the very latest, good-looking plasma themes for all the KDE lovers out there to appreciate and perhaps to download.

  • Distributions

    • A Few Questions For Bartosz Fenski
      As far as I remember I tried using Linux around the year 1998. I tested many distributions and each of them had some glitches that were very annoying for me. In fact even my first attempt at using Debian was a fail.

    • Zmanda Joins Open Source Channel Alliance
      Zmandaâ„¢, a leader in open source backup and recovery software, today announced that the company has joined the Open Source Channel Alliance as a charter member. The mission of the alliance is to drive the adoption of open source software and solutions in the mid-markets. Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) - a provider of open source operating systems, management and middleware solutions - and SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX) - a leading business process services company, servicing resellers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) - are the founding members of the Open Source Channel Alliance.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Free CDs: Orders Are Taken Now
        There's only one week left until the final release of Ubuntu 9.04 and, if you are anxious to get your hands on some nice CDs with the new Ubuntu operating system, then you should pre-order them right now from Ubuntu's ShipIt service, free of charge (a free account or an OpenID is required). They have started taking the orders a few minutes ago, so hurry up!

      • Ubuntu Tech Support: It's All A Matter Of Timing
        Any company considering Ubuntu, however, should also pay close attention to how Canonical, Ubuntu's corporate sheperd, handles technical support. Once you understand Canonical's support strategy, you will also understand why this version of Ubuntu server looks a bit more appealing to bleeding-edge surfers than to mainstream small-business IT users.

        "Technical support" means two things here: professional technical support from Canonical, and maintenance updates for a particular release on an as-needed basis. The first form of support is available on a paid basis for those users who require it; the second form, like the Ubuntu Linux releases themselves, is always free.

      • Announcing Ubuntu Open Week
        I am pleased to announce that this cycle’s Ubuntu Open Week will be held the week after Ubuntu 9.04’s release, from 27 April to 1 May on #ubuntu-classroom on Freenode. The sessions take place from 1500UTC to 2100UTC (With a special session on Monday night after-hours)

      • 10 Awesome Themes For Ubuntu
        Since I have started to use Ubuntu I came across many cool themes so I decided to make a list of them. Let me know if you like them and if your favorite is not in this list, post a comment and let me know and I will give it a try.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux table radio does Pandora
      Livio has announced a Linux-based Internet "radio" that plays back customized streams from Pandora, as well as approximately 11,000 other stations. The "Livio Radio" includes 802.11 wireless networking, an RJ45 port for wired Ethernet, plus "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" controls for rating songs, according to the company.

    • Phones

      • The Verizon Hub Widget Phone Just Got a Lot More Exciting
        I'm reviewing the somewhat anachronistic Verizon Hub connected phone. Now that I've seen its future—an open platform built on Linux with sleek hardware from this decade, like capacitive touchscreens—it's way more exciting.

      • One Dozen Super-Useful (and Free!) Android Apps
        Six months ago we pointed out the best Android apps to boost your mobile productivity, but since then more free applications have appeared in the Market that offer useful features you don't want to miss.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source tunes into the channel
    A new effort was announced by prominent open source software vendors — Red Hat and charter members Alfresco, EnterpriseDB, Ingres, Jaspersoft, Likewise, Pentaho, Zmanda, Zenoss and Zimbra — and channel player SYNNEX to extend open source software into the all-important sales and distribution channels of mid-market value-aded resellers (VARs) and system integrators (SIs).

  • A Little Start-Up Success Story
    This is how FOSS wins, too. Not by being a charging elephant. But by being a million nimble, determined penguins.

  • Study: Open source worth $387 billion (in savings)
    That's good news, because as the recession takes its toll on IT budgets, a new study suggests that companies can save $387 billion in development costs by using open-source software.

  • The smallest unit of freedom: a Fellow
    Myriam Schweingruber is a devoted Free Software advocate with a flair for convincing people. Having worked as a translator, a school teacher and a pharmacist, Myriam is quite experienced in the art of communication, and gives a clear impression of trustworthiness. She has been especially active in the Swiss community, and helped found FSFE’s associate organisation, Whilhelm Tux, where she also served as the President. I had a nice chat with Myriam and asked her about some of the projects she’s involved in, as well as her experiences promoting Free Software in Switzerland.

  • Five Ideas To Get FOSS Into Governments
    # Fix the procurement policy. While a policy that says open source is great is a good thing, if you don't change the procurement policy it will have no effect. The best open source solutions result from a two-phase procurement process where the first phase buys prototyping and iterating and the second phase buys production deployment and scaling. If you have a procurement process that basically defines software as "something you buy a license for" you'll never get the adoption-led benefits of open source.

    # Publish tenders by default. In most places, it's illegal to specify a vendor explicitly in a generic request for tender. To deal with this, many countries have open procurement policies, but very, very few publish tender documents, so we have a problem. Initiating a scheme like the one Brenno de Winter has in the Netherlands brings the cleansing power of sunlight into the process. Brenno uses Freedom of Information requests to secure tenders and then posts them to a wiki for community review. You could do that too where you live.


  • AGPL: Open Source Licensing in a Networked Age
    It’s tempting, then, to ask what problem is being solved by the Affero GPL. But that would be facetious, and would serve to trivialize what could be a real problem for some projects. Projects that are considerably less visible than Linux or MySQL, for example, might require the protection that the AGPL affords. For them, closing the loophole might seem like a life or death matter. The difficulty will be in determining which the license will guarantee: even as AGPL licensed protects are protected from those that would use them without contributing, it also represents an insurmountable barrier to entry for some potential players.

    I’m glad then that the Affero GPL is an option, but I’m with Mark Radcliffe: I wouldn’t look for it to compete with the GPL any time soon.

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code Just Around the Corner
      If April showers bring May flowers, what does May bring? That's when student developers in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program buckle down and get to work. The popular volunteer program drew almost 5,900 proposals from nearly 3,500 applicants who are no doubt pacing the floor until Google posts the list of accepted candidates. They'll have to wait until April 20 to find out.

    • Q&A: James Gosling on Sun-IBM, cloud, SOA, and of course Java
      Q. One of the most enduring things about Java is the virtual machine, that helps to give it its ‘write once, run anywhere’ capability. You must have been watching with interest as so many vendors now espouse the benefits of virtualisation, albeit on a different level?

      A. The Java VM is much more abstract than say a Microsoft or VMware VM. There were a variety of issues that drove me to use a VM for Java. We needed to virtualise a very wide variety of hardware – not just Mac, Unix, Linux, Windows but things like cellphones and even smartcards. Also to encapsulate computations and be able to move them around, and handle them in a way that they can be optimised differently and map to individual machines. VMs were not very common when I did the Java VM, but I had been doing a project I got involved with as a graduate, a PASCAL compiler that used byte codes to represent compiled programs, and I had to target it at other architectures, which gave me the idea of building VMs into bytecode instruction sets. I actually thought about doing a PhD in this but in the end I did it in something else.

    • Python 2.6.2 released
      The developers of Python, the free scripting language, have announced the release of version 2.6.2. This is the second bug fix release in the Python 2.6 development branch and contains nearly a hundred bug fixes and revisions, all listed in the release notes.


  • Would You Believe Teens Have No Interest In Paying For News?
    In a study that should surprise just about none of you (unless you're one of those newspaper execs who still thinks people will pay for the news), it turns out that teens have absolutely no interest in paying for news (thanks Felix PleÅŸoianu!), and they really like aggregation sites that provide them with a lot of info quickly and efficiently.

  • Want To Know Why Newspapers Are Dying? Maureen Dowd Shows Us
    And that is where Google adds value: it helps to connect people with the information they want. If Dowd would just pause the dramatics long enough, maybe she would recognize that this concept sounds very familiar. Just like newspapers have always done, Google tries to find information that its users want, and deliver it to them in a way that is useful -- and news stories are just one example of what people want Google to find for them.

  • Copyrights

    • YouTube orchestra makes its debut
      At least 90 musicians from more than 30 different countries have given their first performance in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in New York.

    • UK 'has the worst copyright laws'
      UK copyright laws "needlessly criminalise" music fans and need to be updated, a consumer watchdog says.

      UK laws that make it a copyright violation to copy a CD that you own onto a computer or iPod should be changed, says Consumer Focus.

    • “US copyright law is far too strict” – GNU founder
      American software freedom activist Richard Stallman, better known as the author of GNU General Public License, joined RT to give his comments on modern software copyright laws, and the risks of cyber sneaking.

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