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Links 30/04/2009: New Mandriva, New ELive, Sabayon

GNOME bluefish



  • Smart videocam boasts Linux development framework
    Supercomputing Systems (SCS) is shipping a $300 programmable video camera with open source hardware and software. The LeanXcam is based on a 500MHz Analog Devices Blackfin processor, captures 752 x 480, 60fps video, and runs a uClinux-based OSCar (Open-Source Camera) Software Framework, supporting machine-vision application development.

  • Getting Into Linux the Easy Way (Linux for Beginners)
    In Linux For Absolute Beginners: 3 Easy Ways to Test-Drive Linux I reviewed some simple ways to safely test-drive Linux. All of them involved selecting a Linux distribution to try, then downloading and burning it to a CD. Anyone can learn how to install Linux in different ways, such as dual-booting, standalone on a single PC, or in a virtual machine. While installing Linux is very easy as far as installing operating systems goes, it still requires a bit of geekery. If anything goes wrong it can eat up a lot of time troubleshooting, especially when you're not familiar with Linux.

  • Podcast Season 1 Episode 7
    In this episode: Ubuntu 9.04 is here and Renai LeMay says it's as slick as Mac OS X. We also get to play with the GP2X Wiz portable games console and ponder on the announcement that Oracle is going to buy Sun Microsystems. Our open ballot asks whether we should dump

  • Spam From Hijacked Webmail Accounts
    Assuming your system is equipped with up-to-date antivirus software, and that you've conducted a full system scan, you can get a second opinion by turning to one of my favorite diagnostic tools, Ultimate Boot CD.

    This is basically a distribution of Linux that you can burn to a CD. Assuming your system is configured to boot from a CD (if not, you can try these suggestions), it will allow you to boot up into another operating system environment that lets you run a slew of diagnostic checks on the underlying hard drive and operating system, including virus scans from at least three different anti-malware vendors. It is generally safe to delete any suspect files found in these scans, but the scans themselves can take many hours to complete, depending on how many files you have on your system.

  • Cloud computing with Linux thin clients
    Usefulness, however, is not always the primary factor that determines wide-scale adoption. A more accurate determination can be made in terms of absolute cost—especially when adoption is considered in developing countries—as well as relative cost in relation to value. A client's thinness bears a direct relationship to its cost, because less capable systems are less expensive to produce. Similarly, the cost of cloud-based software is directly related to its large-scale adoption.

  • Applications

    • Free powerful CAD software achieves record numbers, big Linux following
      MEDUSA4 Personal is a fully featured advanced drafting system with smart editing and drafting power tools, basic 3D, parametrics, and even a Sheet Metal Design module. It supports Windows as well as six different Linux distributions (CentOS, Fedora, Mandriva, RedHat, SuSE and Ubuntu) .

  • Games

    • Alien Arena 2009 Screenshots
      The Alien Arena development team has released 16 screenshots of the upcoming Alien Arena 2009. This release features “some very significant advances” in the game engine and new arenas, and player models. It’s also mentioned that they are planning to release the new version in June; thanks to jay for the heads up.

    • Crysis Wars v1.5 Dedicated Server for Linux
      As part of the Crysis Warhead€® package which is offered for about $30 the new multiplayer focused game called Crysis Wars€® will be included as well.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

      • Celebrate Spring with Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring
        The Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring range is now available in the office format which corresponds to your choice, KDE, GNOME or LXDE and all this in more than 70 languages.

        Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring not only offers you the most advanced and easy to use Linux operating system on the market but also integrates a list of some of the most complete software.

      • Top 10 reasons why you'll love Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring
        Desktop environments. KDE 4.2.2, GNOME 2.26.1 et LXDE. Each of them comes with a lot of innovation and new features, improvement in ergonomy and efficicency. Learn more.

    • Ubuntu

      • 10 reasons you'll want to install Ubuntu 9.04
        1: Ext 4 file system


        2: GNOME 2.26.1


        3: Speed


        4: Cleanup Janitor


        5: Nautilus encryption


        6: Xorg 1.6

      • Ubuntu, Now More Popular than Windows XP!
        Ubuntu has finally eclipsed Windows XP in terms of popularity. --That is according to the most recent data from Google Trends.

      • Linux Distro Test - PC/OS 2009v2a
        Time to boot LiveCD: 55 seconds, Time to install: appox. 25 minutes, Time to HD boot: appox 45 seconds This is a very strange boot. It seemed to lag in the middle, but it did finish booting with a very nice desktop in the end. I like the way the menu is set up; lately, I've found that you have to drill down quite a ways for the menu items in some other XFCE distros, while this one seems to be clean, quick and better organized.

      • Linux Distro Test - Xubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
        This was your normal average Ubuntu boot/install. But I did something that I regretted later; I tried to skip the language packs during install...a bad move. Luckily, the DM is smart enough to know that certain things were missing, and prompted me to fix things by reinstalling the missing items, and after that, all was well. I really doubted the notification area's worth when I first read about it, but after that incident, I had a greater appreciation for it's purpose.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Boot Times
        Charles Dickens wrote that "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". I have a feeling that he wasn’t referring to computer operating system boot times, but that's what I’m going to discuss today. More specifically Ubuntu 9.04's boot times.

      • Xubuntu vs. Debian Lenny with Xfce
        I've done this sort of thing before, but luckily somebody else is comparing the Xfce environments of Debian Lenny and Xubuntu/Ubuntu.

        Results are not surprising and are in line with what I found over a year ago when I did a major comparison of everything from Xubuntu and Debian to Slackware and gOS, as well as Wolvix and standard Ubuntu.


        In all fairness, I haven't tried Slackware again since 12.2 came out, so maybe things have changed, and I also haven't tried Lenny since it went stable (my experience was during the three or so months leading up to that point). Put simply, Ubuntu worked, so I use it.

    • New Releases

      • Press Release: Sabayon Linux x86/x86-64 4.1 KDE
        Dedicated to those who like order over chaos, to those who like simplicity over complexity, to those who think that less is more, to those that just want more for less. Sabayon 4.1 will catch you, based on Sabayon 4 LiteMCE, represent what can be the future of our Operating System: just the best of the Out-Of-The-Box, KDE, multimedia applications and nothing more than what you need for your daily tasks, but what about your free time? We've got it. XBMC (formerly known as Xbox Media Center) 8.10 is what you've ever wanted to build up a fantastic HTPC or Internet Multimedia Box, so what's better than having it ready to use? Show off the new Sabayon Linux to your friends, they have no more excuses to not try it!

      • RIPLinuX 8.3

      • NetBSD 5.0

      • DragonFly BSD 2.2.1

      • Elive 1.9.26 development released
        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the development version 1.9.26

    • Devices/Embedded

      • $200 E-book Reader set to Make its Debut
        It runs Linux operating system and unlike the Amazon Kindle has no wireless capability. BeBook like most of its rivals uses the E Ink display.

      • Phones

        • Google Android on the Skytone Alpha 680
          In these videos 2 employees of Skytone demonstrate the Alpha 680, which is likely to be the first netbook to be shipped with the Android mobile operating system. You get an impression of browsing the Web with a browser based on the WebKit engine, using Skype, and the Palringo instant messaging client on the Alpha 680.

        • Palm's Pré: the $170 phone
          The Pré smartphone could cost just $30 (€£20/€23) more to buy that it actually costs Palm to make, according to a report by market analyst iSuppli.

          iSuppli forecasts that the phone will sell for roughly $200 (€£135/€150) when it eventually comes to market. That’s despite a cost analysis calculating that that each unit will cost Palm $170 in components to produce.

        • Mole talks up Palm Pré... 2
          Everyone knows salt’s bad for you in large amounts, but you’ll need a fair sized dose if you’re to swallow the latest Palm Pré rumour. But it’s Register Hardware’s duty to report that a second Pré smartphone’s supposedly in the works.

        • Acer ponders Android smartphone
          Acer has followed in the footsteps of arch rival Asus with talk of possible plans to launch an Android-based smartphone.

      • Sub-notebooks

        • Genie To Bottle Microsoft
          How far should Microsoft feel threatened by Linux? Quite a bit, if ARM's CEO Warren East is to be believed.

          "Today the Linux world is not as good as Microsoft from the point of view of the user, but it's getting rapidly better," East told me this afternoon, "so it will get to be as good as Microsoft and, when that happens, the genie will be out of the bottle. Because Linux is much more cost-effective than Microsoft. People will ask: 'Why do we use Microsoft?'"

          East told the FT recently that ARM "almost doesn't care" that ARM-based netbooks will not be Windows-based, pointing out that if people find Linux and Android just as good an experience as Windows, then Microsoft's reluctance to get involved doesn't matter although "it's a dangerous missed opportunity for them".

        • Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 hands-on
          Sure, Ubuntu haters won't go near it, but everyone else with a netbook needs to give UNR a try because we think you won't be disappointed.

        • Netbook market? What netbook market?
          Today's 'default' netbook, from a name-brand vendor, delivers quasi-desktop functionality, costs as much as that vendor's (now non-existent) lower-cost notebooks/laptops, ie in the US$500 range, and we have the tier-1 name brand vendors perpetually pushing the price further uphill, introducing pointless feature-creep to justify this price-hike.


          So, how does Linux lose in this market? In short, it doesn't - the 'netbook market' has instead morphed into something else: it's become the 'smaller form-factor notebook' market. And in this market, Microsoft has traditionally held a 95% slice (in the OEM, non-Apple realm).

          Therefore, what we have here is not so much a case of Linux losing ground in the netbook market, but of Microsoft and OEM hardware partners reshaping the market into "the same ol', same ol'". It has become a market where Microsoft has substantial monopoly market advantages, dating back to 1981, and where it has honed substantial, oft-times illegal anti-competitive market capture machinery.

          And yet, even in this market, now reshaped to favour Microsoft's monopoly machinery, Linux still snared 24% of 'netbook' shipments.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free vs Open Source software
    People do not like to talk about morality much these days, but that's exactly the thing at heart here. An Open Source person is using OSS software because it's generally better and because that policy brings in practical benefits. A Free Software person would use Free Software even if it was worse because, to him, it's the right thing to do.

  • Can free, open source software make us more desirable?
    The sociobiology of humankind is predicated on an evolutionary or 'reproductive fitness' approach to analysing human behaviour.

    This has never been articulated more succinctly than by Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, who devoted a whole chapter to the topic in his book - 'Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century'.

  • The Kindness of strangers can defeat Proprietary Cloud Computing. Free Software Solutions
    Fashion is fickle. One day thin clients and clusters are the fashion de jour, the next it’s Web 2.0, Virtualisation or distributed computing and Grids. They who live by the sword of fashion will surely perish by it but a new model has been strutting its stuff along the catwalk of web fashion and she goes by the name of Cloud Computing. Like all fashions there is a deal of hype surrounding it but there is a consistent concern emerging from all that hype and is about the dangers of proprietary cloud computing. Richard Stallman has called it a “trap”. He is right—but it is more than that. It is a well-baited, DRM-like honey trap for the unwary. That is not immediately obvious. Like all good traps it suckers you in before the wire noose tightens around your neck. You don’t have any wire cutters in your rucksack but you do have the GPL and free software to effect an escape. Can it save us from vendor lock in and proprietary software?

  • Business

    • The Pitch: Open source search venture
      THE BUSINESS: Lucid Imagination Inc. provides commercial services for Apache Lucene and Solr open source software, nonproprietary technologies that are used to create full-text search engines. Apache Lucene/Solr downloads have grown nearly tenfold over the past three years, with a current run-rate of more than 6,000 downloads a day.

    • Open source biz apps coming to the cloud
      SugarCRM, for its part, on Wednesday detailed a new lineup that features Sugar Express, which costs $8 a month per user, Professional for $30 per user per month, and the Enterprise iteration that costs $50 per month for each user.

    • Open source IP cuts costs
      He notes that a VOIP or IP telephony system can be integrated with core business applications ensuring users have faster, more detailed access to business information on their own business contacts. “These applications can be pushed right down to the handsets themselves, enabling the entire IP telephony network to be customised right through to the endpoints," says Wortt.

    • An open and shut case
      Ingres appears to be prospering under its open-source direction, with revenues more than doubling since 2006, and with over 300 employees.

  • Funding

    • Likewise Secures $10 Million in Funding; Sets Sights on New Users and Product Development
      There are a lot of mixed networks out in the wild, of course. This is why Likewise has successfully secured a $10 million Series C round of funding, which the company plans to use to pursue growth in new markets and fund the development of its product line.

    • Miro's Creative Fundraising: Adopt a Line of Incredibly Cute Code
      The Miro internet TV player is completely open source, and licensed under the GPL. The content it delivers is free of charge, and the organization backing it (the Participatory Culture Foundation) is a registered non-profit. Developers and contributors are always welcome to donate their time and effort in any capacity they are able.

    • Cutest funding move ever? Adopt a line of Miro code
      Those behind the open source Internet video player Miro have launched a new adoption system! No, you won't be adopting babies or kittens, or even polar bears in Antarctica—instead, users can "adopt" a line of source code from Miro for $4 in order to help support the continued development of the software.

    • Eucalyptus in the cloud: researchers commercialize OSS project
      The researchers behind the open source Eucalyptus project have launched a company to commercialize the technology. They plan to offer services and support to companies that want to use Eucalyptus to build self-hosted elastic computing clouds.

    • Google to invest 90,000 USD in Drupal
      The accepted students, their projects, and the mentors are listed on the official announcement. Congratulations to all successful applicants, and thanks to the Drupal Summer of Code organizers, the Drupal mentors, and last but not least, Google. Awesome!


    • Going deep into GCC 4.4 with Red Hat
      GCC 4.4 is a critically important component of the open source software landscape. It officially was released last week and I blogged on it briefly, but felt the need to get more insight. Fedora 11 which hit its preview release yesterday lists GCC 4.4 as one of its key features and Red Hat is a key contributor to GCC, so I asked Red Hat for their views on how GCC 4.4 will make a difference.

  • Government

    • Open source hits the government sphere
      And Canada is not alone in adopting open source models in its public institutions, although local technology analyst Michael Geist argued the country is behind other jurisdictions.

      The French national police force has been using open source for years, he said – making him wonder why Canada didn't adopt it earlier.

  • Licensing

    • GPL: why Eric Raymond is wrong
      In the midst of such a situation, a man who advances an argument that the markets can seek efficiency and attain it is talking rubbish. The markets are controlled by human beings. And it is these flawed human beings who decide the direction things take by means of the crooked or straight tactics they use.

      Thus, the most efficient system does not win. The system that is willing to bend the rules to its advantage, use its contacts to avoid prosecution and its money to lessen resistance and shape public opinion wins. Let me say just one word here: Microsoft.

      If the markets were efficient, then companies like Citibank would have failed. The same goes for AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford - all companies where the management failed.

    • India Inc Voice Concern Over Sun s Open Source
      My Twitter network points out as I write this that MySQL is open source and under the GPL, so it can't really be killed; it's already been spun off in a slimmer form into the open source community, as Drizzle.

  • Programming

  • E-mail

    • Need open source e-mail security? Get it ASSP!
      What is the best way to prevent spam and viruses from entering your inbox? According to its makers, the open source Anti-Spam SMTP Proxy (ASSP) server project takes the honours because of its design and feature set, and best of all it is free and cross-platform.

    • Funambol Mobile Open Source Community Testing Grows 2,000%, Downloads Gain 34% and Active Servers Increase 42%
      In the past three months, Funambol's open source community testing increased 2,000%, open source downloads grew 34% and active servers increased 42%. Funambol's community continues to enhance the software's interoperability with many systems, including Google apps, MS Exchange, Android and Mozilla Thunderbird. Furthermore, Funambol's expansion into mobile social networking has fueled significant developer interest and activity.

    • Open source Exchange replacements
      The messaging and groupware landscape has altered significantly in the last few years with, like it or loathe it, Microsoft’s Exchange Server now firmly ensconced as the number one solution regardless of customer size or industry sector. There are alternatives, of course, but rival developers have more or less given up on trying to beat Microsoft at (what’s now) it’s own game. Instead most now concentrate their efforts on developing alternative messaging and collaboration servers which to end users, and their applications, look and behave just like the Exchange they’re hoping to replace.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • Nationally Recognized Psychiatric Hospital Selects Medsphere's Open Source Electronic Health Record to Transform Clinical Care
      Medsphere SystemsCorporation, the leading provider of open source healthcare IT solutions, todayannounced a five-year contract with Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital forimplementation, training and support of the company's OpenVista electronichealth record (EHR) solution.

    • An Affordable Fix for Modernizing Medical Records
      But commercial vendors, noting a common complaint against open-source software that is developed by engineers here and there, say that they can provide a more reliable soup-to-nuts system and offer many features that users of the VA system have to tack on, notably billing and financial programs that commercial hospitals need to run their business.


      Many start-up companies adapting VistA for commercial use, including Blue Cliff Inc., MELE Associates Inc., Sequence Managers Software and Medsphere Inc., say their systems will still be less expensive for hospitals to deploy. Medsphere, which put together the system for Midland Hospital, says OpenVistA enables hospitals to run system checks for security problems and bugs. And Chief Executive Mike Doyle says the open-source software community can quickly share information and patches to fix or correct them.


  • Using the Internet To Subvert Democracy
    All the recent talk about various polls and elections being pranked or hijacked, serious and silly alike, prompted me to write an article about the technical realities behind online polling, and the political fallout of ever becoming subject to online voting for serious elections

  • Meet Phorm's PR genius
    Well, Phorm's public image has had a bit of bother from the European Commission, so it would sort of make sense.

    And this couldn't be the same "PR guru" Patrick Robertson who orchestrated the €£200,000 campaign by Tory grandees against the extradition of ex-Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, could it?

  • In Europe, Intel Faces a Large Antitrust Fine
    Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, has faced the biggest financial penalties to date, accused of abusing its dominance. It paid a fine in 2004 of 497 million euros, or $663 million at current exchange rates.

    In the Intel case, “I’d be surprised if the fine isn’t as high or higher than in the Microsoft case,” said Howard Cartlidge, the head of the European Union and competition group at the law firm Olswang in London. “Technology markets are where the European Commission has perceived particular problems due to dominant companies.”

    Some legal experts speculate that Intel’s fine could reach about a billion euros, or $1.3 billion. Intel’s annual sales were $37.6 billion in 2008.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Second chance for French net bill
      A controversial French bill which could disconnect people caught downloading music illegally three times returns to parliament on Wednesday for debate.

  • Copyrights

    • Best-selling Swedish author uploads audio book to the Pirate Bay to protest court verdict
      The well-known Swedish author Unni Drougge was so upset by the court verdict against the Pirate Bay that she uploaded a home-made audio book version of her best-selling new novel Boven i Mitt Drama Kallas Kärlek (The villan in my drama is called love) to the site, complete with a manifesto for free file sharing and a link to her Paypal account.

    • Not Smart: Warner Music Issues DMCA Takedown On Larry Lessig Presentation
      If there were anyone out there to whom you would not want to send a random takedown notice for an online video, it would probably be Larry Lessig. Given that Lessig has become the public face for those who feel that copyright has been stretched too far, as well as being a founder of Stanford's Fair Use Project, and who's written multiple books on these issues, you would think (just maybe) that any copyright holder would at least think twice before sending a DMCA takedown on a Larry Lessig presentation.

      Apparently, you'd be wrong.

    • Hadopi : l'UMP, parti pirate !

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 14 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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