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Links 04/05/2009: Mandriva Rave, Eucalyptus Funded

GNOME bluefish



  • Who's Running Dell?
    Mark Van Kingsley is a successful Linux-based business owner in New York. Fact is, Mark started his business based on my Open Sourced business plan. I put months of research and work into it and it is the perfect example of how a business plan should be structured. Mark was even offered loans to start his business based on his revised business plan. Anyone can receive it simply by asking. But I digress...

    He decided it was time to get a new desktop. Knowing that Dell had Linux options, he navigated to their website and began his shopping. No one relates an experience better than the person experiencing it, so let me present it straight from the source. What follows is a verbatim account of his experience with Dell Sales on the telephone.

  • KELLNER: Competitors soften Microsoft's roar
    The netbook phenomenon is interesting: The tiny portable computers, with screens as small as 8 inches, run either a low-cost version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system (lower in licensing price than any of the Windows Vista configurations) or some flavor of the open-source Linux operating system, which is either free or much, much cheaper than even Windows XP. Either way, a lower-cost or no-cost operating system on a netbook siphons money from Microsoft's revenue stream.

  • KELLNER: Linux alternatives to Windows, Mac
    Shannon VanWagner, a computer systems administrator in Seattle, got the ball rolling because he believes the open-source Linux operating system is our computing salvation. It's free for individuals, more or less; enterprises will want to license a given Linux distribution, or version, in order to get technical support. Because it is open, Linux can be enhanced and refined by any number of programmers, who, in turn, share their work with others.

    And there are plenty of applications for Linux, some of which I mentioned last week, such as's productivity suite. There's GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is a free competitor to Adobe's Photoshop. If you need Web browsing and e-mail, offer versions of the Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client; other browsers and e-mail programs abound.

    Indeed, Mr. VanWagner, whose Humans Enabled blog ( is high-octane evangelism for Linux, has links that'll help you find dozens of alternatives to Windows and/or Mac applications, just about all of them free for the downloading.

  • IBM Pays Customers To Ditch Sun Servers
    IBM claims its Power System servers are two to four times more efficient than Sparc systems in terms of speed and energy use. Power servers use the AIX, Linux, and i operating systems.

  • Wrong way to go about solving the problem.
    Windows will never be secure.

    What’s particularly dumb about this is that the NSA has already bee involved in the development of SELinux, the kernel of which is now part of most Linux distributions. It’s already been rated at a higher level in their “Trusted Computer Systems Evaluation Criteria” (the “orange book”) than any version of Windows has.

    Frankly, I don’t get what the justification for trying to get a secure version of Windows is. They should just dump it and use one of the SELinux-based systems.

  • HP ProBook 4710s Video Hands On
    It's clear that HP is attempting to target small and medium businesses that need to purchase new notebooks but can't afford the $1,500+ expense of the HP EliteBooks. HP offers the ProBook 4710s with Windows Vista, Windows XP, SuSE Linux, FreeDOS, or Red Flag Linux so IT managers can pick the OS that makes life the easiest. Likewise, optional HP Care Pack Services offer extended service contracts which go beyond the standard one-year warranties for the notebook and battery.

  • Blackmagic announces Linux support for DeckLink
    Blackmagic Design Inc. has announced Linux support for DeckLink, Intensity and Multibridge products.

    Linux support now means any DeckLink, Intensity and Multibridge product from Blackmagic Design can be plugged into computers running Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, and moved between platforms as customers choose.

  • Deja Vu All Over Again
    In the spring of 2009, at a Linux gathering in Northwest USA, a man stood before a large group of Linux Developers and said the same things. I am no smarter than this man, he's forgotten more about GNU/Linux than I will ever remember. I simply gave it some thought before he did.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel log: 7.5 coming in summer, re-write for Intel's graphics driver 7.5 is scheduled to appear in summer, and could include a new Intel graphics driver. The developers have slashed its code to boost reliability and performance. The kernel developers have now presented versions 2.6.30-rc4 and of Linux, and are released and guest mascot Tuz bows out.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Etch for Old Hardware
      The pool of usable Linux distros for older hardware is shrinking. For at least the rest of this year, it appears you can still install Etch and make it work well. Everyone has their own ideals, and I’m quite sure you can find fault with mine. Still, I’m going to outline what I’ve done, and perhaps you’ll find something useful.

    • Mandriva

      • Mandriva 2009.1 “Spring” is Stunning
        So there you have it, Mandriva 2009.1 is an amazing release. It has everything that Kubuntu lacks in a KDE distro. Kubuntu has always been my favorite distribution, yet a release as good as this one may convince me to make the switch. To put it more simply, Mandriva 2009.1 is probably the best KDE-based distribution I have seen so far this year, and it’s everything that Kubuntu should have been. I definitely recommend anyone reading this to give Mandriva a shot. Hopefully you’ll find it as wonderful as I do.

      • Thoughts about Linux marketing #3 : Mandriva and its R D projects PR
        Nothing on Planet Mandriva, or in english linux news site like Linux Today,, OSNews or If you want to see the different R&D Mandriva projects, have a look at Mandriva R&D page.

      • Mandriva Cooker (2010.0) opened
        Since Friday the cooker repositories, which will lead to Mandriva 2010.0 in 6 months, are open again. In only 3 days about 400 new package releases were made, mostly new upstream versions which came out during the last month while the cooker repository was frozen.

      • A Taste of Spring: The Mandriva One 2009.1 Experience

    • Ubuntu

      • 20 Ubuntu Derivatives You Should Know About
        Whether you like Ubuntu or not, it is here to stay. Ubuntu has contributed a lot to the Linux community in sparking interest in new Linux users and opening the doors to “ease-of-use” Linux. Their Influence has spread throughout the Linux community sparking new distributions.

      • Minimal Xubuntu 9.04
        Last week we took a look at how two distributions can be so very different even though they are based on the same technology (and even the same distribution). What we found was that the Ubuntu variant, Xubuntu, which comes with the Xfce desktop, used more than twice the amount of memory over Debian's implementation of the same desktop.

      • Installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix from a USB stick
        Most netbooks do not ship with an optical drive. Here is how you can make your own bootable USB memory stick with Ubuntu Netbook Remix - the special netbook-optimised version of Canonical's Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and try out the newest and hottest operating system available today.

      • Out and about with the Acer Aspire One and Ubuntu 9.04
        One of the funny things about the AA1 (and probably most netbooks right now) is how often when I am using it out and about at someplace like Starbucks or Taco Bell that people stop and ask me questions about it.

        * How well does it work? * Which one do you have? * Did you look at any others? * Are you glad you got it? * Was it worth the price * How well does Linux work on it? * Can you really use Linux to replace Windows?

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 140
        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #140 for the week April 26th - May 2nd, 2009. In this issue we cover: Karmic Open for Development, Notify OSD to be discussed at Ubuntu UDS Karmic, Ubuntu Open Week Summary, New Ubuntu Member, Ubuntu Hug Day: May 7th, LoCo News: Jaunty Release Parties, Launchpad 2.2.4, Launchpad's web service code released as stand alone libraries, New prefixes in the help sub-forums, Hiding post (bean) counts, Announcing the Ubuntu High Availability Team, Ubuntu Brains, Ubuntu 9.04 does not use ext4 by default, Ubuntu-UK podcast: Partners in Crime, Canonical engaging Ubuntu Software Partners, Team Meeting Summaries for April 2009, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Connecting Linux to a Bubba 2
      The Bubba 2 isn’t limited to only music streaming. You can share out printers and email as well. But when you’re having to connect from a Linux box, you might have to go through a few more steps than you would with either Windows or Mac. Even with these extra steps, it’s worth it. The Bubba 2 is an outstanding piece of hardware that makes sharing to small networks a snap.

    • Tutorial tackles ARM-based web kiosk
      Part Four of Simtec's series on embedded Linux system development covers the construction of an ARM-based web kiosk system. Written by Vincent Sanders (pictured) and Daniel Silverstone, both from UK-based Simtec Electronics, the tutorial explores power management and other issues involved with deploying an ARM9-based kiosk.

    • Nano board targets home media servers
      Via Technologies has announced a Mini-ITX motherboard intended to find a place in home media servers. The VB8002 runs Linux on a 1.6GHz Nano processor, and offers DVI and S-Video connectors, S/PDIF output, and RCA jacks for connection to external A/V equipment, the company says.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • May Day (My First Day with Linux)
        It’s an odd coincidence that I chose to make free open-source software my primary notebook OS on International Worker’s Day, but that’s how it went down when I migrated my calendar, contracts and email to Easy Peasy 1.1 on my new Asus Eee PC yesterday..

Free Software/Open Source

  • SA IT agency and Fossfa join forces to spread OSS
    Mashao says the partnership with FOSSFA will assist SITA and the South African government in its drive to open source software.

  • Eucalyptus

    • Open source cloud platform is commercialized by its creators
      The creators of Eucalyptus, an open source platform for building private clouds, have launched a company to sell products based on the software and have landed $5.5 million in first-round funding.

      Eucalyptus Systems promises to sell enterprise-grade products based on Eucalyptus, which is designed to aggregate servers, storage and network infrastructure into a “cloud” that allows end-user customization and self-service provisioning. Eucalyptus supports the same APIs as public clouds, and is compatible with Amazon’s Web Services infrastructure, letting users deploy hybrid clouds consisting of internal and external resources.

    • Eucalyptus cloud targets enterprise users
      The makers of Eucalyptus, the Linux-based open source cloud computing platform that now ships with Ubuntu, are targeting enterprise cloud computing with the launch of Eucalyptus Systems Inc.

      With $5.5 million in financing led by Benchmark Capital, the private company will develop enterprise-grade products and services built on the freeware platform, starting with consulting and support.

  • Business

    • Open-source companies log impressive growth
      Even as the global economy tanks, open-source companies continue to soar. A range of open-source companies reported sales and community growth this past week, including:

      * Funambol: As announced on its Web site, Funambol's mobile open-source community has grown 2,000 percent, downloads are up 34 percent, and the number of active Funambol servers is up 42 percent in the past three months alone. * Actuate: While business intelligence vendor Actuate's overall license revenues grew 15 percent last quarter, its BIRT (i.e., open source) revenue grew 32 percent.

  • Government

    • Govt regulations threaten innovation, free software, say opponents
      Keats and the African Commons project are not alone in their concerns over the IP regulations. Eve Gray, honorary research associate in the Centre for Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town writes on her blog that “the Regulations (that are) designed to enforce - and ‘force’ is an appropriate word here - are some 30 years out of date and completely out of tune with the way research is being conducted in the world’s leading universities in the 21st century, with high levels of collaboration.”

      Similarly, Andrew Rens, legal lead of Creative Commons, South Africa and Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, says that the regulations are “unworkable” and “unconstitutional”.


  • Transparency means nothing without justice
    We cyber-liberties types are very big on government transparency – on the right to carry our cameras into every altercation with authority and to put it all online. We make the problems visible, hoping that this will solve them. Little brother watches back!

  • Looking to Big-Screen E-Readers to Help Save the Daily Press
    But it is Amazon, maker of the Kindle, that appears to be first in line to try throwing an electronic life preserver to old-media companies. As early as this week, according to people briefed on the online retailer’s plans, Amazon will introduce a larger version of its Kindle wireless device tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines and perhaps textbooks.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Surveillance fears for the UK
      Computer security veteran Phil Zimmerman warns about the seductive nature of technology.

      The UK is risking sliding unwittingly into a police state because of the growing use of surveillance technology, says security guru Phil Zimmerman.

    • Agency denies internet spy plans
      The UK's electronic intelligence agency has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement to deny it will track all UK internet and online phone use.

  • Copyrights

    • The Fear of Knowledge
      Copyright infringement should not be based on fear. Fear is a very powerful tool that is all to often exploited by governments and those in power to get the information they want stuffed into people’s minds. Where do you think Mrs. Smith learned this information? Was it a credible source? Chances are it was, which brings up the question of who you can really trust. If people stopped blindly trusting the government, what would happen to fear as a propaganda technique? When discussing copyright, it is best to decide where your ethics are. “Should I share an ogg (or mp3) of this out of print CD with my friend?” “Should I consider a small violation of the DMCA a crime if I will only be using the content for what used to be called ‘fair use’?” “Should I cite this public domain resource?” “Should I tell my friends about this artist and give them this audio file to get them interested?” “Should I download this BBC documentary I found on BitTorrent so I can learn about Elephant migration patterns for my report on African mammals?” There are so many possibilities. The government has drawn an unreasonably inhibitory line in the dirt, and used fear to enforce it. As a result, the only way to figure out what is right or wrong is to make the ethical decision yourself.

    • The Absurdity of the USTR's Blame Canada Approach
      The IIPA, the lead U.S. lobbyist on international IP matters, has issued a press release on the USTR Special 301 report, welcoming the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List.

    • RIAA Site Features TorrentFreak’s Latest News
      Just a couple of days ago we reported that the MPAA’s website was vulnerable to an XSS attack, which left it displaying torrents from The Pirate Bay. This time a flaw has been discovered in the RIAA’s site, which now allows it to display TorrentFreak’s latest articles.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase "anti-rival goods" 01 (2005)

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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