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Links 17/05/2009: Kids in Vietnam Run GNU/Linux, Firefox Gets New Icon

GNOME bluefish



  • The Search for the Ultimate Linux Guru Begins
    Highlights of the site for me:

    * The Linux Guru Directory. We have a saying, “code is the new resume.” With the transparency of the Internet, those who participate and showcase their skills are best positioned for success. Users of can gain Linux guru status for answering questions, reviewing products, submitting tutorials or much more. The top user every year receives a dream laptop signed by no other than Linus Torvalds.


    I’d also like to thank our inaugural sponsors: Intel, NetApp, Novell and Red Hat. It’s certainly no surprise to see those names associated with Linux but we truly appreciate their leadership in helping us make this site a reality.

  • Editor's Note: When Will it Really Be the Year of Linux?
    It already is. It already has been. It will continue for the forseeable future.

    My scorn for lazy tech reporters who have made an industry out of "This is the year of Linux!/ No it isn't, stupid hippies!" is no secret. In fact I could make my own little industry out of scorning lazy, useless, content-free tech reporting, except that complaining all the time is dull and annoying. It gripes me greatly that this grand bully pulpit of online publishing, where a single person has the potential to reach the entire world, is wasted on 90% dreck. But then Theodore Sturgeon said that ninety percent of everything is crap, so I guess that's just the way humanity operates.

  • Elug and SA Linux join forces
    The relationship will also see Elug and SA Linux collaborating on marketing and events, with the first major collaborative event taking place on the 19 September with two gatherings in the east of Gauteng to celebrate Software Freedom Day.

  • Why Linux Does Not Need A Unified Package Manager
    To me this is a very simple question to answer. Linux does not need a unified package manager when the source to the application you are using is available for you to compile on your own. Make your own package.

    “Now Dann,” you might say: “Surely you do not mean for generic desktop user Joe to compile his own software?” To that I reply: “If not him or her, then surely there is someone else in the community willing to help him or her out.”

  • Desktop

    • My Vietnamese 8th Graders are new Linux users
      With just less than one month left of class, I decided to see if my 8th Grade students at the American International School in Saigon would be interested in learning Linux. I am glad I tried because these kids seemed to be having a lot of fun.

  • Server

    • Linux, football and nitrogen: perfect mix for sports tech company
      What do football, Linux and nitrogen have in common with each other? Quite a lot, it seems, as far as start up company Kinetic Performance Technology is concerned. The company formed six years ago and is now behind some of the nation's top footballers and athletes. We speak with one of its co-founders in the first part of a series that will focus on successful technology start-ups.


      What technology do you use in your developing, I understand that Linux plays a large part?

      The Altitude room runs on a Linux server. We program it all in Python and it runs on an Apache web server so its all open source. Our other product, GymAware is an Apache mod-Python Web application with a MySQL database backend.

      Kinetic's network infrastructure runs on Linux with Samba, Subversion and automated backups aided by Python. We use eclipse to run our development environment, and rely on plenty of support from the open source community.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: What's coming in 2.6.30 - Storage: RAID improvements, optimised CFQ Scheduler, SAS drivers
      The next kernel version is to provide all that's necessary to convert, for example, a RAID 5 into a RAID 6 and vice versa. There are changes to the block layer designed to speed up the system, and new and improved drivers will offer better SAS support.

      With the fifth release candidate of Linux 2.6.30 out a few days ago, the development of the next kernel version in the main development line continues to progress. As indicated by Linus Torvalds in his release email, the changes are slowly decreasing in number and size, which is what usually happens at this development stage.

    • ZFS, Btrfs and Oracle
      Most of you may already be aware of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems. If not, here is an article stating just that from Sun’s website. I read the news as soon as it was published on the net along with the reactions of Sun users for Sun products. What will be the future of mySQL or OpenOffice?

    • OpenCL, OpenGL 3.1 State Trackers "Hopefully Soon"
      Yesterday afternoon there were two new Gallium3D state trackers released by VMware / Tungsten Graphics for OpenGL ES 1.1 and ES 2.0 support. With these new state trackers there is now OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 acceleration for any graphics hardware that has a Gallium3D driver. The OpenGL ES state trackers came just weeks after the release of an OpenVG state tracker.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE 4.3 Beta 1 - looking pretty
      Looking back for a moment, there's no question that KDE 4 has had a very rough ride. Certainly, version 4.0 was a disappointment for many users, lacking features and functionality to make the move from 3.5 worthwhile. Version 4.1 started to repair the damage, and 4.2 padded it out to be good all-round desktop (don't miss our top KDE 4.2 tips!). Will 4.3 be the first 4.x release to win over armies of Gnome fans?

    • GNOME foundation needs your vote for Board elections 2009
      As you should know, the GNOME foundation is run by a board of 7 directors known as "The Board". After 18 months of active duty, it's now time to refresh either the blood or our confidence. Which means...

  • Distributions

    • The G:Standard 3.0.beta01 (2.9.80) is Released
      The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the first released of the next G:Standard. The G:Standard 3.0.beta01 (2.9.90) is Released. The G:Standard is the original edition first released in the end of October 2004. In the past it was called as GoblinX and later as GoblinX Standard. In order to dismiss doubt about the releases and follow the same criteria used for all dsitributions (editions) of the GoblinX Project it became simply G:Standard.

    • Linux Distros That Don’t Suck
      I, much like every other hardcore geek on the face of the earth, have multiple linux based distro iso’s laying around. Some of them are for testing and some of them contain tools that I use on a daily basis. I have had many people email me about the best distro out there. The only answer I have for them is “depends on what you want to do”. I have spent sometime working on a list of Linux distros and what they are good for.

    • Testing out Arch Linux
      Arch installation is done through a text installer, but is quite simple. Installation is quick because there’s not much software to install. The base installation only has core libraries and binaries. There’s not even X. You’ll only get a console prompt, vi and not much more. And this is great, because you can customize it the way you like it and install only what you want. And if you want X, just issue "pacman -S xorg". It’s not for everyone, but long-time Linux users that like to fiddle with their system will probably like Arch.

    • Revisiting antiX and SimplyMEPIS
      Yesterday I made it a point to spend some time with both antiX and SimplyMEPIS. There were no package updates in SimplyMEPIS at all; it is rock stable. There were only a few package updates to antiX, which is based on Debian Testing. Both of them ran very smoothly and cleanly. No wonder I keep them among my trilogy of systems!

    • Red Hat

      • Migrating from Fedora Art Team to Fedora Design Team
        As discussed some time ago [1], we are going to rebrand ourselves as the Fedora Design team rather than the Fedora Art team, both in hopes of attracting more UX designers, and also since it's a more accurate representation of the team so folks needing help with UI design will know where to go. Well, for roundabout reasons (getting fed up with our limited ability to collaborate on files, more later in this email) I finally got around to starting this process.

      • The OLPC XO-1.5 and Fedora 11
        Some good news from OLPC: we've decided to base the new XO-1.5 laptop's software release on Fedora 11. Unlike previous releases, we plan to use a full Fedora desktop build, booting into Sugar but giving users the option to switch into a standard GNOME install instead. (This will mostly be useful for older kids in high school.)

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu One: Future of Ubuntu?
        Some of you might know that Ubuntu recently launched a beta online storage service called “Ubuntu One”. This service looks very similar to what other popular online storage service like dropbox already does, except that Ubuntu One (pro service) is more expensive than Dropbox and the fact that dropbox client already supports Linux very well that it makes little sense to use Ubuntu One as an online storage service. Unless you consider these facts:

      • #! CrunchBang Linux Review
        I recently decided to try out CrunchBang Linux. The lightweight, Ubuntu based Linux distribution although lacking some of the features of a modern GNOME or KDE desktop still stuns.


        Default Applications. This distribution has some of the best preinstalled software installed. Gwibber, Skype…the list goes on. Although some applications have been replaced by lightweight alternatives: Evolution with ClawsMail, OpenOffice Writer with ABIWord… the choices are reasonable for a desktop that is designed to be lightweight. Likewise, there are some great oddities in the “Terminal Apps” section: everything from web browser to torrent client can be accomplished through the CLI and that will surely speak to the inner geek . Oh and did I mention Flash and other restricted formats are enabled by default.

      • HMR group possibly stealing the Ubuntu Logo
        I found this on Reddit and I was amazed nobody is talking about it over here. Well the site is been using this logo which is strictly forbidden by the Ubuntu trademark policy

      • A day with Ubuntu
        Overall, it was fun and a new experience to sit with Ubuntu and not with Windows. I hope there will be more days in the future when I will work with Ubuntu and have all my needed files ready for it and work with it without any constraint or limitation.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • USB display technology heading for Linux
      Linux users should soon be able to use USB-connected monitors that incorporate DisplayLink's chips. DisplayLink has released Linux versions of its USB monitor source code under LGPL, and has partnered with Novell and the Linux Driver Project to develop drivers for desktops and mobile devices.

    • DisplayLink Provides USB GPU Support On Linux
      Besides Intel, VIA, and ATI/AMD cooperating with X.Org and Linux developers by providing source code and documentation to help with the enablement of their hardware under Linux, another major company has come to the open-source table. No, sadly it is not NVIDIA. DisplayLink is the company and it has now provided an open-source library so that products using their technology will eventually work with Linux.

    • Mr. DisplayLink goes to Linux

    • Digi-Key Ships Open Source BeagleBoard Development Board
      Digi-Key has confirmed it is shipping Revision C of the BeagleBoard from, targeted at the active open source community.

      Based on a Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) OMAP3530 processor, the BeagleBoard bridges desktop and embedded development by delivering laptop-like performance in a pocketsize, 3x3-inch form factor for innovative projects ranging from robots, netbooks, and mobile Internet devices to entire Linux distributions and gaming frameworks, Digi-Key explained.

    • Phones

      • Nokia, Intel developing oFono Linux-based OS for GSM phones
        Despite the unquestionable success of the S60 platform, Nokia apparently isn’t ready to settle with just one OS for all of its devices as word is that they’re preparing a new mobile OS in collaboration with Intel. Called oFono, this new Linux-based mobile platform is for GSM phones ruling out any speculation that it’s for a Nokia netbook

      • Sybase Befriends Samsung, Symbian, Amazon
        With the adoption of this open source client, Sybase iAnywhere said it added support fo over a billion phones including numerous Nokia devices and Symbian phones.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Kids belong on Linux netbooks
        Recently, fellow Computerworld blogger, Preston Gralla wrote about a Lenovo analyst who felt that Windows 7 will dominate netbooks, and Linux will fade away. Of course, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols responded that Linux does have a future on netbooks.

        But they are all addressing adults. When you instead focus on children, it seems pretty clear. Kids belong on Linux, specifically on netbooks running Linux.

      • iUnika Gyy netbook weighs 1.5 pounds, will cost $176
        Hey, remember the $199 Impulse TNX-9500, the "world's cheapest laptop?" Yeah, it was just the beginning. Say hello to the iUnika Gyy, which manages to shave its price down to €130 ($176) by using a slower 400MHz MIPS processor and ditching that costly XP license for Linux.

      • Will Your Next Netbook Be Running Android?
        Android, based on a Linux kernel, meets some of those criteria, says Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist for research firm In-Stat. With Google at the helm for Android, device makers can get a open-source product that still has the backing of a big brand.

      • Linux vs Windows - which is the better netbook OS?
        Yes, Linux has a perfectly good (although slightly complex) image editor in GIMP but if Adobe decides to pump out a version of Photoshop for Linux, all of a sudden, Linux becomes a palatable option. Linux can already do everything else and while Linux hardheads will continue to push the “open source” mantra for this OS, the average consumer couldn’t care less and likely doesn’t know what open-source means anyway.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cut overlaps in software and support costs
    To cut software costs during the economic downturn, companies should trim overlaps in software deployments and unnecessary support subscriptions, advise experts.

    Chong Yoke Sin, Group CIO of healthcare cluster, SingHealth, told ZDNet Asia in an interview, wastage commonly occurs when companies purchase software with overlapping capabilities. She offered an example of a company purchasing a business intelligence (BI) tool which comes with online analytical processing (OLAP) features, but purchases another standalone OLAP tool on top of it because the company believes the latter to have more features.

  • High-Profile Speakers at "eLiberatica – The Benefits of Open and Free Technologies" Conference
    We have the pleasure to announce the third edition of one of the most important Open Source and Free Software conferences in Eastern Europe: eLiberatica 2009 that will take place on 22nd- 23rd of May, in Bucharest, Romania.

  • Open Source You Can Use, May 2009 Edition
    Sound, video, distros and programming all figure into this month's roundup of open source goodies. Read on for more.

  • University of Georgia Announces uPortal-Based MyUGA Student Portal
    According to Rehan Khan, associate CIO, University of Georgia, the uPortal open source solution provided the University with a secure and scalable enterprise platform with the capability to evolve and expand online services in the future.

  • Open Source Solution Breaks World Sorting Records
    In a recent blog post, Yahoo's grid computing team announced that Apache Hadoop was used to break the current world sorting records in the annual GraySort contest. It topped the 'Gray' and 'Minute' sorts in the general purpose (Daytona) category. They sorted 1TB in 62 seconds, and 1PB in 16.25 hours. Apache Hadoop is the only open source software to ever win the competition. It also won the Terasort competition last year.

  • Should Health Care Standards be Open Source?
    My argument is that the $100 really isn’t the point, but it is the lack of access, the lack of “eyeballs” that this situation causes acts as an impediment to health care transformation. The fact that Jack, the computer science undergraduate, can’t just go download a copy and start building the next big Health 2.0 company should be a real source of concern. I’d argue that the total openness of protocols such as HTTP, and TCP/IP is one of the key reasons why the Internet itself works and is generally interoperable. In the words of Linus Trorvalds, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”.

  • Cities of Anderlecht, Charleroi and Vorst on the move towards OOo
    Since end of April, all civil servants of Anderlecht are using OOo. Charleroi and Vorst to follow this example.

  • FLOSS Weekly 69: OpenMoko
    Sean Moss-Pultz and Christopher Hall for OpenMoko, the open source hardware platform for mobile phones.

  • New Firefox Icon: Iteration 2
    Note: this is a draft icon rendering for Firefox 3.5, subsequent iterations will be posted every 24 hours or so.

  • Avoiding the JavaScript trap is a service that's built on the GNU Affero GPL, which is a modified version of the GPL that closes a loophole enabling people to make alterations to GPL software without releasing those changes. (The GPL says you must release your changes only when you distribute them and technically web servers aren't distributing code, as they're run at the server.) is also special because all the content on it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, so you're able to get all your data off whenever you want to.

  • Open-Source Speech Recognition Platform – Simon Unveiled
    An open-source speech recognition platform called ‘Simon’ has been developed under the General Public License (GPL), in order to serve people with locomotor and cognitive dysfunctions with an advanced speech recognition system (SRC).

    In general, speech recognition is a process of converting an acoustic signal (captured by a microphone or a telephone) to a set of words. Some of the speech recognition applications include voice dialing, call routing, content-based spoken audio search, simple data entry, preparation of structured documents and speech-to-text processing.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • "Transparency will Damage Democracy"
      Great to see Heather Brooke getting at least *some* recognition for the huge service she has done transparency in this country by fighting for access to details of MPs' expenses, thanks to her fascinating piece in the Guardian today, which lets her tell the real story behind recent events. Do read it if you can: it's an extraordinary tale of dogged refusal to give up in the face of unremitting parliamentary arrogance.

    • A breakthrough on data licensing for public science?
      I spent two days this week visiting Peter Murray-Rust and others at the Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics at Cambridge. There was a lot of useful discussion and I learned an awful lot that requires more thinking and will no doubt result in further posts. In this one I want to relay a conversation we had over lunch with Peter, Jim Downing, Nico Adams, Nick Day and Rufus Pollock that seemed extremely productive. It should be noted that what follows is my recollection so may not be entirely accurate and shouldn’t be taken to accurately represent other people’s views necessarily.

    • NESTA, Open Innovation, Creative Commons
      Lately I've been spending a fair amount of time talking to the folks at NESTA in the UK. There's a lot of interest in how the kinds of legal and technical infrastructures we're building at Creative Commons might work at scale in the UK, and yesterday NESTA hosted me and James Boyle (founder of Creative Commons, and a guiding force in our science work from the very beginning) at an event labeled Open Innovation and Intellectual Property, jointly hosted by the Wellcome Trust and Creative Commons.

    • Synthetic Biology: Feasibility of the Open Source Movement
      Synthetic biology is developing into one of the most exciting fields in science and technology and is receiving increased attention from venture capitalists, government and university laboratories, major corporations, and startup companies. This emerging technology promises not only to enable cheap, lifesaving new drugs, but also to yield innovative biofuels that can help address the world's energy problems.


  • Another Scandal Surrounds Pirate Bay Judge
    Pirate Bay judge Tomas Norström’s objectivity has already been called into doubt because of his ties to national and international pro-copyright lobby groups. Now, one of the defense lawyers says he has uncovered another scandal and claims to have evidence that Norström wasn’t assigned to the case randomly, as should be the case according to court procedure.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase "anti-rival goods" 14 (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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