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Links 27/05/2009: More Schools Adopt GNU/Linux; Firefox 3.5 Near



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Survey, Windows Licenses purchased and formatted for Linux.
    Hey, just curious how many others have burned alot of cash on unused Microsoft licenses like I have.


  • OLPC arrives in remote Australian schools
    One Laptop Per Child Australia (OLPCA) has - with the assistance of the Commonwealth Bank - been training teachers and installing servers since March so that schools can make the best use of the XOs.


  • UN program: computer workstations for schools in developing countries
    A first pilot project was completed in Burkina Faso, and further pilot projects are to provide 1,000 Linux desktops to schools in Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania before the end of the year.


  • Readers' Choice Awards 2009
    The Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards have become an annual ritual, almost as fun as the holiday season. Our editorial team members can't wait to get their hands on the results to see what products and tools from the Linux space are keeping you productive, satisfied and wowed. And, who better to ask than our readers, the most talented, informed and (nearly always for the better) opinionated group of Linux experts anywhere? These characteristics are what make the awards such a great snapshot of what's hot and what's not in Linux.


  • Desktop

    • Getting real about Linux on the desktop
      Lastly, we have the whole netbook phenomenon. While the jury might still be out on whether Microsoft or the Open Source camp have won the battle around smaller form factor devices, activity here has raised the visibility of client-side Linux and provided a lot of experience in how to package and roll out Linux-based offerings on a mass commercial basis. Indeed, there has been a lot more focus within the Linux community around issues such as usability and user acceptance, which is quite a departure from the traditional emphasis on perceived technical superiority.


    • Is Linux finally ready for the Desktop takeover?
      Linux is ready to take over the Desktop: of that, there is no doubt. The ever increasing number of users adopting Linux is testament to that. Whether it can complete the takeover, is something only time will tell.


    • How Ubuntu Saved A Dell Laptop
      I downloaded the latest Ubuntu Linux (9.04). Booted from the live CD. Backed up the documents. Installed Ubuntu. Restored the documents.

      The machine now runs much faster than Vista did.


    • Update on Miserware Beta - Power Saving on Linux
      It’s well over a week now since I started using the Miserware MicroMiser software. I have it installed on all the Ubuntu PCs we have at home and on two laptops too. I have noticed no adverse effects from running the software. In fact you really do forget it is there. (The Micromiser software is packaged and available for easy install on Debian and it’s many derivatives, Fedora, RHEL, and SLES too so you are not limited to just Ubuntu’s Linux)


    • Review: System76 Pangolin Performance laptop
      If you are a new-to-Linux user and you just want something that works, this laptop is for you. If you do a lot of typing and you need a keyboard with well spaced and laid-out keys, this laptop is for you. If you need something with some power, but not something that will blow out your budget or burn down your house, this laptop is for you. If you are new to linux, a Linux guru, or anything in between, this laptop is for you. This particular laptop is perfectly in line for home use or business use. Either way you will get your money’s worth with this machine.








  • Events

    • LinuxCon promises to bridge developer and business communities
      As the founder and program chair for the Open Source Business Conference, I know what a business conference looks like. And as a regular attendee of the excellent O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), I know what a great developer event looks like, too.

      But this year's inaugural LinuxCon, put on by the business and developer-friendly Linux Foundation, is trying to bring the two worlds together this September in Portland.


    • LinuxCon is Taking Shape, With An Impressive Speaker Roster


    • Its that time of year again - Software Freedom Day 2009 - Dundee
      Well its come to that time of year again, that we are starting plan's for this years Software Freedom Day. Which will be held on the 19th of September. I have sent you this email because you where either involved with last years event or you have shown some interest in being involved with this years event.

      [...]

      Arron Finnon President Abertay Linux Society








  • Elections

    • Gnome Elections: meet the candidates
      Gnome Foundation elections are getting near, and the candidacies have already been submitted to the mailing list.

      Here’s an overview of the candidates, along with the copy paste of their candidacy mail. I also tried to find the hackergotchi for everyone, and did minor edits to the formatting - for sanity.

      Probably you don’t have the right to vote (vote is open to members only), but chances are you could find interesting the nominees anyway.


    • Open for nominations.
      In Fedora, we have two main bodies of governance that take care of the lion’s share (yes, that was a Leonidas pun, sorry) of decision making where we need specific accountability. One of those is the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee, or FESCo. The other is the Fedora Project Board.








  • Applications

    • Mandriva get into the cloud backup business
      Mandriva, the Linux vendor, has announced "Click'n'Backup", its own web based backup system. The service, reminiscent of the recently launched Canonical's Ubuntu One, includes online secure storage space and a backup and restore tool. Unlike Ubuntu One, the backup and restore tools are available for non-Mandriva Linux systems, Windows and Mac OS X.


    • CoverGloobus 1.4 Brings New Themes, Desktop Sexiness
      CoverGloobus 1.4 fixes some bugs, but - and more importantly for eyecandy lovers - also brings with it four awesome new themes!


    • Lower disaster recovery costs with open source replication tools
      However, in this article, I'd like to focus on another aspect of DR -- replication using open source tools and lower-cost storage for your Linux/Solaris solutions. A typical enterprise Linux distribution includes around 2,500 packages with hundreds of useful tools. However, there are tens of thousands of additional open source tools available that may allow you to achieve DR goals at a lower cost. Let's talk about two popular tools for replication: rsync and distributed replicated block device.








  • KDE





  • Distributions

    • 5 Best Pen-Test Linux Distributions
      Linux distributions are often customized to perform many specialized tasks cater to a particular industry, hobby or business. Security Penetration testing is one such niche where professional (and hobbyists) use customized Linux distributions with the whole purpose of doing security tests on networks and personal computer (hopefully with permission). Most of these distribution are live CDs which can be used without having to install them to your computer. Today we will take a look at some of best Pen-test distributions out there.








  • Ubuntu

    • OMG! I’m using a non-Debian Linux distro!
      Over the long Memorial Day weekend I decided to do some further Linux distro-hopping, and so wiped out my beloved Crunchbang Linux to test the following distros...

      [...]

      The installation was quite beautiful and flawless, with enough options along the way to make a Slackware user drool. Mandriva enjoyed the top slot at Distrowatch for a long time in the pre-Ubuntu Linux world, and honestly, I personally would choose it over Ubuntu, any day of the week. Mandriva is great at tweaking the desktop environment to create a thing of beauty. Even their implementation of the tray in KDE 4 is not annoying, and I REALLY hate the KDE 4 tray. What they have done with LXDE is also very impressive and attractive. So far, I’m finding Mandriva 2009 with LXDE very likable — attractive and fast.

      I think I’ll keep it around a while, and see how it goes.








  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Ultimate Tablet: On Palm's webOS?
      Palm? But they haven’t even shipped a single device yet! Isn’t Android the more logical platform for this?

      Yes, and no. While Google is making great strides with its version 1.5 Cupcake release of its Android software, which is Linux-based like the Palm webOS, in the end it is acting as a software company providing an Open Source platform for other companies to do the heavy lifting of marketing and device development — a similar strategy to one that that Palm once tried with PalmSource, licensing its classic Palm OS software to companies like SONY, Samsung, Qualcomm, Symbol Technologies and TRG/Handera which produced PalmOS PDAs such as the CLIÉ and the TRGPro.


    • At Google I/O: Good News for Web Developers, and Android Apps
      This looks to be a very easy way to incorporate news feeds, interactive maps, videos, and many more types of Google-centric content with any site. At Google I/O, there is also news of a new second iteration of the Android Developer Challenge with big cash prizes, and new Java language support in Google App Engine.




    • Sub-notebooks

      • HP strikes back on netbooks
        Yesterday it announced a new Intel Atom netbook that will run HP's custom version of Linux and cost just $279 upon its debut.


      • Linpus To Launch Moblin V2 OS Next Week
        Back in February we were first to share the news that Linpus was going to launch a QuickOS Linux operating system. They did that, but we can now also tell you that next week Linpus Technologies will be launching a new version of their Linpus distribution that is based upon Moblin V2. One of their representatives decided to send us the information early again, and so we have it for you now.


      • Forget Moblin! Ubuntu Netbook Remix rocks on the Classmate
        Why would I bother tweaking, fiddling with drivers, and otherwise goofing around with Moblin when Intel’s NBR image:

        1. Is fast 2. Made great use of the small screen of the Classmate (sounding familiar yet?) 3. Worked with the touch screen, wireless, and all hardware out of the box 4. Came with software for taking notes with the stylus, handwriting recognition, and the same palm rejection that makes it so easy to write on the Windows version of the tablet 5. Came with Ubuntu’s familiarity and extensive software library 6. Is easily switchable back to a standard Gnome desktop interface












Free Software/Open Source

  • Filmaster: free and open social network for movie buffs with reviews and recommendations
    Filmaster is a new social network for film buffs that features personalized content and recommendations. What makes it special is that it is an open service: both code and content is free as in freedom.


  • Creating FOSS Allies Through Volunteerism
    In the response to the current economic climate, President Barack Obama has issued a call for volunteerism. Now is a good time for “penguinistas” and “GNUsters” to heed that call and volunteer to be part of a team focused on moving just one institution such as a school to FOSS. It is often difficult work, but that difficulty can be an advantage for the FOSS community.


  • Open source virtualisation - worth the wait
    Open source may have had a late start in the realm of enterprise virtualisation, but the meticulous and attentive development of this technology has led to better products in the long run. Not only is open source virtualisation now fully enterprise-ready, but it offers greater cost-savings and more flexibility that its proprietary counterparts.


  • Open Mobile Consortium Launches With Open Source Mobile Tools for Health and Humanitarian Work
    We are proud and happy that six months of hard work have paid off: the Open Mobile Consortium has launched today. Conceived at MobileActive08 in South Africa, the OMC is featuring a suite of fully open source mobile applications focused on health and humanitarian work.

    The OMC is an unprecedented collaboration amongst nine high-profile organizations to develop an interopable set of platforms of high-quality open source mobile tools for humanitarian and civil society work.


  • Ingres and Red Hat unite to thwart Ellison's Sun love
    Open source database vendor Ingres might stand a better chance at taking on the enterprise with Oracle fixing to swallow developers' favorite MySQL along with Sun Microsystems. To help, it's begun forging alliances with open-source operating-system companies.




  • Operating Systems

    • Easy Jailing with The (PC-BSD) Warden
      I've been looking at a neat little program that is part of PC-BSD called The Warden. With this program is very easy to setup and manage FreeBSD jails. The Warden supports pre packaged software that can be installed into jails called Inmates. In this example I will be using the Joomla Inmate package that installs Joomla, Apache, MySQL and PHP in a short space of time.


    • Nexenta: Ubuntu Server with ZFS goodness
      The Nexenta project, started in 2005, has had 6 releases (NexentaOS and NexentaCore), and is preparing for the upcoming NexentaCore Platform 2 release. If you are a Debian/Ubuntu developer, consider taking a little time to take a look at an emerging platform that provides a feature rich developer environment.








  • Business

    • Technology Giant Plans Open Source Channel Partner Initiative
      Tech Data, a $24 billion technology giant with deep Microsoft relationships, has developed a 24-month plan to emerge as “the voice for open source in distribution,” The VAR Guy has learned. The proposed strategy includes potential open source hardware solutions from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Fujitsu. And it has broad implications for the software industry and the global IT channel. Here’s the scoop.

      First, the official statement from Tech Data: “I can confirm that Tech Data is working on this topic [open source in the channel], but it would be premature to discuss the details at this time,” according to a spokesman for the technology distributor.


    • Is This the Tipping Point for Open Source “in the Channel”?
      Those are serious numbers: if this comes off – the timescale is over the next year or so - I think we can expect an equally serious boost to the entire enterprise free software ecosystem. I can't wait.


    • Free Help for Implementing FOSS in the Enterprise
      It used to be a given that free enterprise software came with a price tag for the technical support necessary to implement and maintain it. However, the FOSS community has expanded to the point that a vast array of free resources are available for help with just about any conceivable project or problem. Many companies are finding they don't have to purchase costly support contracts.








  • FSF/GNU







  • Government

    • A call for an internet age speaker
      If this sounds like a good idea to you, you could do far worse than get involved. The software to make an online democracy possible needs writing and testing — and of course it should be open source. It needs people to encourage its use. The internet has made many other aspects of life easier and more efficient. Why shouldn't it do the same for politics?


    • New Group Launches with Open-Source Tools for Mobile Health and Development
      A new organisation has been launched to boost the use of mobile technologies in developing countries. The Open Mobile Consortium will assist in the development of open source software tools to help organizations to better serve the health, humanitarian and development needs of the "bottom billion," the poorest and most disenfranchised citizens of the world.






  • Openness







  • Applications

    • How to turn a photo into a card with GIMP
      I’ve been using this trick for ages to make simple cards from photograph - starting with a photo and making a card like looks like this...


    • Drupal 7: usability update
      Based on a survey that I conducted last year, it was clear that one of the community's key goals is making Drupal easier to use. This is not really all that surprising. An easier to use Drupal means a Drupal that attracts more users, and therefore more potential contributors.




    • Firefox

      • Mozilla preps Firefox 3.5 for imminent launch
        Mozilla has confirmed that it will be hosting an official "test day" for Firefox 3.5 on Friday, May 29.

        "I don't need to remind everyone of how important this phase is, so we're going to need your awesome testing skills to make sure its as polished as possible," wrote Mozilla engineer Aakashd in an official blog post.


      • An early look at Firefox 3.5
        On the other hand, after running Firefox for days and with multiple windows and tabs, I found that on both Windows and Linux, Firefox is finally not hogging memory. Even with the debugging code that must be in a beta, I found that Firefox is no longer leaking memory. That's good for both the browser's stability and its security.


      • Preview tiny URLS in Firefox
        Tiny URLS are often used in e-mail, Twitter, and other places to shorten a long URL into a much more convenient, short version. They're those little URLS that say tinyurl.com/pkp9cl or bit.ly/pTe77 or some such thing.

        [...]

        Another Twitter-specific add-on that works for all links is Power Twitter. It translates every link in Twitter from a URL to a linked title of the page you're going to. It still won't let you see the full URL, but you'll have a much better idea by the title than you would have otherwise.


      • Ten Firefox extensions that help keep you safe


      • New Firefox Icon: Iterations 8 and 9


      • about:mozilla - Firefox 3.5, Fennec, Jetpack, MoFo, Mozilla Education, and more…
        In this issue…

        * Community marketing and Firefox 3.5 * Firefox 3.5 knowledgebase update * Visual polish for Firefox 3.5 * Fennec Add-on Development * Labs: Introducing Jetpack * Mozilla Foundation update


      • Mobile/Fennec/Extensions












Leftovers

  • Great Australian Firewall may be optional
    The Australian government may be backing away from plans of enforcing its proposed internet filtering regime with legislation.

    Aussie communication minister Stephen Conroy told a Senate estimates committee Tuesday that the Great Australian Firewall could materialize as a voluntary industry code, rather than a new law.
  • The Internet's Infinite Exploitation
    What a wonderful phrase: "infinite exploitation on the Internet" - a perfect description of *precisely* what humanity needs. The inability to provide that "infinite exploitation" is precisely why the current system ought to be superseded. And finally, the fact that this glorious possibility is meant to be a *criticism* of the Internet shows that poor Mr. Lynton is indeed an analogue guy in a digital world - worse, one whose mind keeps bumping up against his own, internal guardrails.


  • Freedom Of Expression Vs. DRM: The First Empirical Assessment
    Copyright incentives and rewards to producers of works have been able to exist alongside other values, such as freedom of expression. However, changes in the way information products are being disseminated raise questions as to whether those values remain compatible with the new modes of dissemination.

    So far, studies devoted to digital rights management (DRM) and copyright exceptions have noted, theoretically, its legal implications. This research filled an existing gap by looking at the impact of DRM on the ability of users to take advantage of certain exceptions to copyright through empirical lines of enquiry.


  • Plagiarising Canadian think tank who used tax dollars to shill for Big Content refuses to back down
    The Conference Board of Canada, who were caught plagiarising in a report on the Digital Economy, produced at the Ontario tax-payers' expense, have responded. They claim it's not plagiarism or intellectual dishonesty that led them to copy-and-paste from an American entertainment lobby group's materials, it's just that the corporate mouthpieces of the record, film and software industries happened to have published the best, most balanced account of copyright in the digital age.


  • Last.fm’s User Data is Useless to the RIAA
    In February TechCrunch rumored that Last.fm had ratted out its users to the RIAA. Now they have another source claiming data was shared with the music industry group, including IP addresses. Without going into the validity of these allegations, we’d like to point out that this data is completely useless to the RIAA, from a legal point of view.


  • Deny This, Last.fm
    A couple of months ago Erick Schonfeld wrote a post titled “Did Last.fm Just Hand Over User Listening Data To the RIAA?” based on a source that has proved to be very reliable in the past. All hell broke loose shortly thereafter.


  • Reminder from the MPAA: DRM trumps your fair use rights
    As part of this week's RealDVD court hearings, Real continued to argue that the movie studios are trying to prevent fair use. At the same time, the MPAA pushed back by saying that fair use can't be used to defend against the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions, since the two are not even related. In fact, this is a gray area of the law that has yet to be fully tested in court. Both sides hope that this case will help sort things out.


  • The Conference Board of Canada's Deceptive, Plagiarized Digital Economy Report
    A third report titled National Innovation Performance and Intellectual Property Rights: A Comparative Analysis misleads by lamenting that Canada ranked 19th worldwide in intellectual property protection according to a 2008 World Economic Forum study on competitiveness. What the report fails to mention is that Canada was actually tied with four other countries ranked 15th to 19th including the United States, which in the same paragraph is heralded as a leader in innovation whereas Canada is described a laggard.


  • Ars Technica Reports: How Strong Copy Protection on Videogames Promotes Piracy
    With high-speed internet connections and BitTorrent now common, it's easier than ever to download the most popular PC games ... illegally. Publishers are fighting back against the pirates with increasingly strict copy protection. Caught in the crossfire are legitimate paying customers: the PC gamers. They are people who, generally speaking, are technically sophisticated enough to download illegally, but who choose to buy instead. And they have started to revolt.


  • Record Labels Attempt To Stretch Pirate Bay Ruling Rejected For Now
    It increased interest in the site and the political movement behind it. And it exposed a potentially biased judge. At some point, you have to wonder if the recording industry would have been better off just letting the obscure (at the time) Swedish site continue living in obscurity, rather than generating all sorts of attention by trying to get it shut down.


  • 20,000 albums? We can hardly believe it!
    Well, it seems like just a few months ago we were celebrating 10,000 albums published on jamendo and this weekend we passed the 20,000 album mark!


  • Band Celebrates 'Super Fan' Who Burns Their CD And Gives It Out To Everyone
    While we still have various old media execs insisting that piracy is destroying content creators, every day we're seeing new examples of content creators who have learned to embrace sharing, recognizing that it's actually free promotion and free distribution.


  • RIAA Fines: Not so Fine
    Yesterday I told the story of RMS and his magic bread, and what it taught us about sharing; here's the negative corollary, courtesy of Charles Nesson:
    Imagine a law which, in the name of deterrence, provides for a $750 fine [the lower threshold for statutory damages] for each mile-per-hour that a driver exceeds the speed limit, with the fine escalating to $150,000 per mile over the limit if the driver knew she was speeding.

    Imagine that the fines are not publicized, and most drivers do not know they exist. Imagine that enforcement of the fines is put into the hands of a private, self-interested police force that has no political accountability, that can pursue any defendant it chooses at its own whim, that can accept or reject payoffs on the order of $3,000 to $7,000 in exchange for not prosecuting the tickets, and that pockets for itself all payoffs and fines. Imagine that almost every single one of these fines goes uncontested, regardless of whether they have merit, because the individuals being fined have limited financial resources and little idea of whether they can prevail in a federal courtroom.


  • Research on Copyright and Innovation
    So, in that context, I’ve released my research report as a working paper in the Social Science Research Network’s online repository of scholarly works. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the Conference Board’s reports as closely as I plan to over the coming days, but I’ll be curious to see how the reports align with my own research on the links between IP and innovation, and with my independent policy recommendations.






Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Kendall Dawson, Linspire Community Liaison 05 (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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