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Links 12/07/2009: Gran Canaria Coverage, Many New Distros

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft offers Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade pre-order for $49.99
    Rick’s Opinion

    Still not worth it. Ubuntu is free and I own Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Home, and Vista for all my Win32 needs. I can’t imagine a time in the future where I’ll need Windows 7 for any reason aside from a review.

  • "Windows 7 is the same as Ubuntu"
    I asked him last night about his initial impressions of Windows 7 and, in typical teenage fashion, as he was bouncing between Meebo windows and browser tabs, he said it was “nice.” I managed to extract from him that his favorite feature was that he was able to use his Zune with it, something that had never worked terribly well with Ubuntu. Otherwise, he said, “Windows 7 is the same as Ubuntu; there just really isn’t anything different about them.”

  • Three Books Every System Administrator Should Read

  • Desktop

    • Get started with Linux - part 1
      As the years go by, many computers start to slow down. One way to breathe new life into an old computer is to re-install Windows but, unless you have all the required discs, this can be tricky. One easier way to bring an old computer back up to speed is to install a copy of Linux.

    • Why I Use Linux: Lofton’s Story
      By using Open Source softwares and exemplifying them as intellectually honest ways to work and perform my duties I introduce and reinforce the idea that being intellectually honest is easy and can actually save time and money as well as giving the students a new understanding of what intellectual honesty really is.

    • Routing around the desktop
      The nature of the enterprise desktop is changing, and the emphasis now is on instant accessibility, mobility and flexibility - attributes which Linux, on the server, desktop, netbook or mobile device, is well placed to provide

    • Neowin Exclusive: Stallman on the current state of GNU/Linux
      I don't know how many people have a specific intention to use future versions of Windows or MacOS. I also don't know many people intend to buy a computer, and will find that it comes with Windows 7 whether they wanted that or not. But if the numbers are large, my feeling towards them will not be one of awe, because I don't wish for the kind of success that consists of gaining power over lots of people. For the GNU system, the question is rather how many people we can liberate.

      My message for anyone that uses Windows or MacOS is to notice that using them means that Microsoft or Apple controls your computing. They decide what you can do, and what you can't do. So escape! Join us in the Free World! We have worked 25 years to build it, for freedom's sake. Now all you have to do is choose freedom.

    • 10 Things for Linux Desktop Evangelists to Ponder
      Continuing the theme from #6, be willing to pay for Linux. Be willing to discuss Linux as a product people buy. Be willing to say "not free" isn't always a bad thing.

      I know Linux proscribes selling Linux, but there are many success stories where Linux is the cornerstone of a profitable product (think TiVo). A nicely constructed Linux Desktop is worth money, whether FOSS thinks so or not.

    • Linux, FOSS, and the Time-Honored Tradition of Charging More for Less
      There is something fundamentally defective with a business that feels it can't survive by giving customers a fair deal. Stick with FOSS. What you see is what you get, warts, roses, everything, with no place to hide tricksy dealings or dishonesty.

  • Kernel Space

    • Interview with Ksplice Co-Founder
      Ksplice is an amazing new technology which allows patches to be applied directly into a running kernel, without needing a reboot. Linux Magazine talks with co-founder and Chief Operating Officer and discusses the origins of the project and what it has to offer.

    • Kernel Log - Coming in 2.6.31 - Part 1: New Wi-Fi drivers and other network-related changes
      Linux 2.6.31 will be IEEE 802.15.4 capable and will include a new Wi-Fi driver for Intel chips. Developers have also added support for recent Ralink Wi-Fi components and revamped the Rfkill framework. The Wi-fi stack and drivers are now better able to use newer power saving technologies.

    • A Root-less X Server Nears Reality
      One of the benefits of moving the different graphics hardware drivers over to using kernel mode-setting, an in-kernel GPU memory manager (whether it be GEM or TTM), and other newer X innovations is the possibility of now running the X Server without root privileges. By doing so, this of course improves the security since this very large chunk of code is no longer running with all of these high-privileged rights.

    • Keeping In Touch: A Guide To Linux Audio Comm Channels
      I hope you'll check out some of the links and sites presented here. Much important activity goes on in the Linux audio world that is not covered by the high-profile journalists, but hopefully the sites mentioned in this article will help keep you up to date. I'll be back with more Linux audio-related news in this column in about two weeks. Meanwhile you can surf the sites mentioned in this article and let me know what you think should be added to my lists. Above all, breathe, stay vertical, and keep yourself open to communication.

  • Applications

    • Lightweight But Powerful Image Editing Application: mtPaint [Windows & Linux]
      GIMP, despite it's interface, is the best open-source image editor. But often all you want to do is simply resize a picture or a similar minor task and for that you could use an application such as mtPaint which has a lot of great features such as:

      * Quickly transform image gamma, brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, posterize from a single dialog, and preview the results in real time.

    • 5 Top of the Line Twitter Desktop Clients for Linux
      If you've been using Twitter through its website, I recommend that you use a desktop client instead to further enhance your tweeting experience. Since Twitter has become immensely popular, there are tons and tons of available desktop applications that support this great micro-blogging service. So I'm here to assist you on narrowing down the choices, and hope to somehow give you an idea on picking the one that suits you best.

    • Blog From Your Linux Desktop with Drivel
      Blogging has done nothing but gain steam over the last few years. Most bloggers are posting directly to sites like Facebook and MySpace. I consider that type of blogger to be amateur. The serious bloggers are using their own sites powered by outstanding open source solutions like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla!, or even home-grown solutions. But there are others who regularly blog to Blogger and Moveable Type. For those more serious bloggers the need for tools to make this job easier is at a prime. One such tool is that tool that allows the user to blog straight from the desktop, in both on and offline modes.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Documentation Generators

    • VLC 1.0 for Linux Released, Now with New HD Codecs
      Dubbed Goldeneye, VLC 1.0.0 brings some of the highly anticipated features, lots of bug fixes and many improvements. Among the new features we can notice support for some HD streams. Without further introduction, here are the highlights of VLC 1.0.0...

    • Code Project: Use weather for wallpapers
      Not all information on the web is static, connected in a meaningful way, or even as cool as it should be. Which is why one of the post-web 2.0 movements of note is the mashup - the repurposing of data from the web into new and exciting forms. Welcome to the world of data punk.

    • KOffice 2.0
      More than a year after KDE 4.0 unveiled a radically revised desktop, KOffice 2.0 is preparing to release an equally revised office suite, which should be released before this article is published (KOffice 2.0-RC-1 was released in April 2009).

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gran Canaria Desktop Summit: KDE and Gnome Formulate Common Goals
      On the first day of the joint developer conference on Grand Canary, representatives of the desktop projects Gnome and KDE formulated common goals for their future development.

    • Signals from the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
      I think that nicely summarizes the atmosphere of the event. There certainly is some competition, but in the end it's motivating and stimulating for both communities and leads to better solutions for all of us.

    • Available Now: GNOME 2.26.3
      The GNOME developers, through Lucas Rocha, have announced early this morning in a press release that the last maintenance release of the popular GNOME 2.26 desktop environment is now available for download. Just like the previous maintenance releases, GNOME 2.26.3 is here mainly to fix many of the remaining bugs, but to also introduce a few interesting features.

    • Gnome-Colors: Elegant, consistent and colourful GNOME desktop themes
      Gnome-Colors is looking like a very promising theme pack for GNOME and one of only a few that provide a PPA repository for regular updates. Whilst it may not be for everyone, I would certainly recommend that popular distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora seriously consider including it as an option in their official releases as it really does enhance the Linux user experience and brings along a lot of eye candy to an operating system that has for quite some time fallen behind in the aesthetics department. I have to say a big thank you to the developers – and I look forward to seeing what else there is to come!

    • KDE

      • Canonical Party Welcomes Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

      • Day 2 at Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

      • Qt Labs America and Other Akademy Talks & Sessions

      • KDE e.V. Elects New Board of Directors
        KDE e.V.'s Annual General Meeting was held today during the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. The KDE e.V. is the association that provides representation, support and governance to the KDE community. After former board member Klaas Freitag and KDE e.V. president Aaron Seigo stepped down and vice president Adriaan de Groot's term ended, three open positions had to be filled. Adriaan de Groot was re-elected as vice president of KDE e.V. and two new board members have been elected.

      • KDE 4.3.0 RC2 Codenamed "Canteras" Released
        The KDE Team has released another release candidate for KDE called "Canteras". It contains only few changes compared to RC1 which suggests that the 4.3 is stabilizing and shaping up well for the 4.3.0 release on 28th of July. KDE 4.3.0 will be followed up by a series of monthly bugfix and translation updates. Testers are asked to report bugs in this release so 4.3.0 becomes a release as smooth as possible.

      • KDE 4.3 RC1 in Kubuntu 9.04 - Overview & Screenshots
        I took some time today to install and take for a spin the latest version of KDE4 today, release 4.3 RC1. I installed the packages from the Kubuntu backports repositories, as explained in this tutorial. All the screenshots were taken at 1280x1024 and desktop effects enabled.

      • Cooperation During the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
        At the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit much cross-desktop work has been done. The days we have are being used for the Cross Desktop Tracks and during the talks there are KDE and Gnome developers mingling everywhere. Cross desktop sessions included bug triage, metadata sharing, instant messaging and sharing personal data cross-desktop with CouchDB. Read more about the results!

      • Akademy Awards 2009
        The Akademy Awards for 2009 have been announced, celebrating the best of KDE contributors. As always the winners are chosen by the winners from the previous year. Read on for the winners.

      • Gran Canaria Desktop Summit: KDE and Gnome Formulate Common Goals
        On the first day of the joint developer conference on Grand Canary, representatives of the desktop projects Gnome and KDE formulated common goals for their future development.

      • Gran Canaria Desktop Summit: Akonadi for the Integrated Desktop
        The Cross-Desktop Metadata track at this year's Gran Canaria Summit highlighted developer activity targeting central storage of contact data, email and other personal information.

  • Distributions

    • Tiny Core Linux 2.1
      They say that good things come in small packages and so it is with Tiny Core Linux, a diminutive but powerful distribution. TCL weighs in at an incredibly petite 11MB when you download it. Yes, it really is that tiny. Tiny Core Linux is based on Busybox, the Linux 2.6 kernel, JWM, Fltk and Tiny X.

    • CDLinux 0.9.2 Community Edition Review
      Five weeks ago when I wrote an overview of Debris Linux I received a number of requests to review other mini distributions from DistroWatch Weekly readers. CDLinux is a minimalist distro from China which takes a different approach to small. Rather than cram as many application as possible onto a mini (3"/8cm) CD, the CDLinux Community Edition aims for excellent support of half a dozen languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Russian), support for a wide variety of filesystems and excellent hardware support, including CUPS and XSane for printers and scanners, all of which are included in the 204MB iso. They also offer a "standard" edition, just 64MB in size, which includes a basic Xfce desktop and almost no applications at all. CDLinux "standard" does include popular rescue and admin tools, making it an excellent choice for a recovery CD. Finally, the 25MB "mini" edition is console only. I decided to take the most complete version, the Community Edition, and put it through its paces.

    • Live Linux Gaming 0.9.5 (
      Lately I’ve been looking at different distributions but there’s another angle of desktop Linux that bears looking at from time to time too: gaming. Yes, there actually are Linux gamers out there and, despite some shortcomings, it is quite possible to play some games on your Linux system. Usually people would do it by installing games and running them via their preferred desktop distribution. But there’s another way:


      “Games that are bold are only contained on the “big” release.

      * armagetronad * astromenace * blobby * chromium-bsu * extremetuxracer * foobillard


    • PCLinuxOS Minime 09.1 on my Thinkpad T61
      Now I have a beautiful, very fast, very mature and stable Linux installation to enjoy and do my work. The result is so nice that I am debating on whether I will want to install the KDE 4 packages that are supposed to be arriving to the repository soon. I will have to think about that. In the mean time, PCLinuxOS Minime is working great and looking very nice on my machine, and it most likely can do the same on yours. Why not give it a try?

    • Red Hat

      • Cisco, Red Hat in the Cloud: Friends or Enemies?
        What is the operating system of the cloud? Linux vendor Red Hat would like it to be Linux. But networking giant Cisco, despite working closely with Red Hat in a number of areas, may be going another direction entirely.

        Both Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) were busy last week with their own respective cloud-related initiatives. Red Hat launched a new cloud certification program while Cisco outlined its go-to-market cloud strategy. Is there an intersection between the two vendors and their cloud initiatives?

    • Ubuntu

      • Linux Mint 7 Gloria – Review
        I do agree in a controlled environment or for users who don’t need the “latest and greatest” Linux Mint is a great distribution, and I think it’s a step above Ubuntu (in both regular user, and enterprise user space).

      • Linux Mint 7 Is Glorious
        Linux Mint 7 "Gloria" was released a little while ago, so before it became too old of news, I thought I'd take a whack at experimenting with it for the sake of netbookers everywhere (and for myself, naturally). As I type this on gedit after about two weeks' use, let's just say that the system on my EeePC 1000 HE is, for the most part, rather glorious-- pun intended. As a bonus, I also got Google's Chromium browser to run on it, so keep on reading to find the section on that.

      • Top Cloud Computing Solutions People are Looking For in 2009
        6. Ubuntu Cloud Computing Ubuntu provides “Ubuntu Server Edition” for use on a public cloud and for building a own private cloud environment on servers, it offers “Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud”. Ubuntu help organizations to migrate to a cloud environment through Consultancy, Deployment services and Support

      • Koala will be 'a definitive shift' for Ubuntu Linux
        You may, by now, have heard of a little distribution called Ubuntu, unless you happen to have been in space for the past five years.

        For now all you need to know is that Ubuntu is a popular offshoot of Debian, and the man behind it, Mark Shuttleworth, is considered to be a veritable Linux titan.

      • Finally — a Wireless Keyboard You Can Love
        I've been using the WKB-4100UB with our latest home-built client (perhaps eventually to be a Windows 7 client, or maybe a Ubuntu server, or something else entirely), known as Bissell because it's an Atom-based Intel D945GCLF2D mini-ITX motherboard built into (really) an old Bissell Carpet Machine Special carpet-cleaner. I mean, the thing would have wound up in a landfill, so why not? I'm pretty sure it won't pass FCC, but it was a fun diversion to assemble, save for drilling holes to mount the motherboard, power supply, and especially cutting openings for the VGA and power connectors. The keyboard USB dongle is completely inside the case. Installing Ubuntu 9.04 start to finish took less than 30 minutes - I used the UNetbootin tool to copy the Ubuntu ISO image to a thumb drive, booted from that (and, by the way, this a now completely portable bootable Ubuntu environment; no installation necessary), then clicked "install" to write everything to another memory stick installed in the Bissell. I plugged in my Linksys WUSB600N USB .11n adapter, and voila, no kidding, it just worked. I was on the net less than 30 minutes from initial power-on.

      • Kubuntu 9.04
        No writer is completely without bias. I do the best I can to be even-handed and objective when reviewing a distribution. I have to admit though that I’ve been far too biased toward covering Gnome-based distributions and haven’t nearly covered as many KDE-based counterparts. I’ll be trying in the future to have a more balanced selection of reviews that cover both desktops plus some other environments.

      • Eyecandy Themes for Ubuntu - Download via Launchpad PPA Repo and be safe
        Eventhough there is a number of good quality themes available for Ubuntu through various sites like gnome-look or deviantart, it is still a difficult job to find full set themes which include gdm themes(login window theme), wallapaper, metacity themes, icon set etc. But there is an option to download it from PPA launchpad repo itself, which is always the safer bet. Special thanks to the Zgegblog guys for contributing these out of the world themes for Ubuntu users.

    • New Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nokia turning to Android for new phone?
      Nokia is breaking from Symbian and about to use Android for one of its next smartphones, according to industry sources. A touchscreen, smartphone-class device is claimed by the Guardian to be later in development and likely to be unveiled at Nokia World in September. Its features are unknown beyond the use of the Google platform.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Want to volunteer?
    This is the reason why I am creating this article is because they are users of FOSS (as well as being a good cause).

    One of the best things FOSS users have is IMO a sense of “community” , afterall we are alone in a world of proprietary software with massive advertising bugets yet still we are able to form communities and help each other. I am sending my list of skills to this charity as well as finding out their requirements for help for referall to others , I would urge you to do the same. What better way to do something you enjoy whilst helping a charity? – Its win, win.

  • Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0: Virtual Developer's Delight
    With little fanfare, Sun Microsystems released version 3.0 of xVM VirtualBox, the Open Source and multi-platform desktop virtualization tool for Unix, Linux, Windows and Mac. The new release represents a culmination of hundreds of bugfixes and significant performance enhancements, including the ability for the product to permit guest OSes to use up to 32 virtual CPUs each. Under previous versions of the product, only one CPU core per guest OS was permitted.

  • Brazilian President Lula da Silva brings attention to Free Software
    In a symbolic show of support for Free Open Source Software and the OpenDocument Format, Brazilian President Lula da Silva recently attended the Linux-related FISL 10 conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he gave an address underscoring the importance of Free Open Source Software to Brazilian national interests. He appears here wearing a hat with the ODF logo (the OpenDocument Format is a legally unencumbered document format upon which any company or community project can easily build.)

  • bashreduce: A Bare-Bones MapReduce
    In late 2004, Google surprised the world of computing with the release of the paper MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters. That paper ushered in a new model for data processing across clusters of machines that had the benefit of being simple to understand and incredibly flexible. Once you adopt a MapReduce way of thinking, dozens of previously difficult or long-running tasks suddenly start to seem approachable–if you have sufficient hardware.


    In fact, the MapReduce model has proven so useful that the Apache Hadoop project (an Open Source implementation of the infrastructure described in the Google paper) has become very popular in the last few years. Yahoo, which employs numerous Hadoop committers, recently hosted their annual Hadoop Summit which attracted over 500 users and developers.

  • Operating Systems

    • My First FreeBSD Fling
      I like FreeBSD now. I have fell in love with Ports. Compiling from source has its own advantages as you can specify several compile time options and the compiled program is better optimized for your particular system. And it feels so damn geeky! I love it.

    • First open source Symbian software released
      The Symbian Foundation has released its first open source software package, the first step in the organization's plan to eventually open source the entire Symbian mobile operating system.

    • Off and Running: Symbian Security Package Becomes Open Source
      The Symbian Foundation, established under a Nokia initiative, has released the first part of its Symbian Platform Security package under the free Eclipse Public License (EPL).

  • Freedom

    • Freedom is Not Embarrassing
      This may seem like reading apocalyptic meaning into Free Software, and I think it does have nearly-apocalyptic importance. Openness, accountability, honesty, success based on merit, community---hey, call me a nasty red Commie, but that sure sounds like the fundamentals of democracy. Who in the proprietary world is looking out for us? If it weren't for Free Software we'd be shorn skinless. Tor, OpenSSL, OpenSSH, PGP, open standards, formats, code, protocols, free intellectual inquiry and sharing, a culture of stubborn resistance-- they're more important than ever. Technology is part of the foundation of modern life, and it's too important to let the greedy exploiters control it.

    • Freedom is not Free for Countries nor Computer Users
      Today is the day that the United States of America celebrates Independence Day. We declared ourselves free from England’s rule and started a Revolution to create a country based on truly revolutionary ideals. The ideal that all people are created equal in the sight of God and no one is above another in God’s eyes. The ideal that people have unalienable rights given to them from God, not from government. The ideal that people have the right to abolish an out of control, despotic government to replace it with one more amenable to the people. These unprecedented ideals had never been set forth in writing to form any other nation until the beginning of the United States of America. Yes, we did win our freedom but it was not freely given to us. Men pledged “… to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” and went to war to win this freedom.

    • As the TOYA Boy Turns...
      Linux (Gnu/Linux for my brethren who prefer) exists as much as a philosophy as it does a system.

      Microsoft Windows is a product. Redmond cannot even spell philosophy.

  • Business

    • How Open Source Can be SMB Friendlier
      What a typical open source vendor today will do, he said, is try to sell their product based on it being cheaper than a Microsoft Windows deployment, for example. But where that goes wrong is how it is viewed by the tech-wary SMB user who doesn’t have a big IT shop to do the work. “From their view, it would be more expensive because they would need training to do it” using open source, rather than sticking with Windows and what they already know and are familiar with, he said.


    • SFLC challenges Black Duck to open source code
      A recent report from Black Duck Software suggests there has been a five per cent decline in the use of GPL licences since 2008. The Software Freedom Law Center's Aaron Williamson has called the figure "meaningless" pointing out that the methodology and mechanisms behind Black Duck's statistics are not available for scrutiny.

  • Programming

    • GitX Clone Gitg Moves to 0.0.4
      The young Gitg project, which visualizes a graphical representation of git data for Mac OS X under Gtk+/GNOME, allows check-ins and merges in its newest release 0.0.4, among other things.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Why The New Webcasting Rates Are A Death Sentence For Webcasters
    Meanwhile, small webcasters don't get much of a break either. Live365 is pointing out that these rates will basically kill off every webcaster it hosts by requiring a $25,000 fee. As the company notes, the guy running the Armenian folk music station for $10/month isn't going to pay $25,000 and certainly isn't going to make enough revenue to pay up.

  • Shepard Fairey Case Gets More Complex: Mannie Garcia Claims The Photo Is His, Not The AP's
    The Shepard Fairey case continues to get more and more bizarre. You may recall that, back in January, someone figured out which photo Shepard Fairey had used as the basis of his iconic Barack Obama poster.

  • From Russia, With Stupidity: Band Must Pay Fines To Itself
    Reader Wesha sends in the news that the band Deep Purple has been fined for performing its own songs in Russia without first getting a license from the Russian Authors' Society (NGO). And it wasn't a small fine either, approximately $1,000 per song. Oh, but wait, it gets better. According to one news organization, the money will be passed along to the victim, a band called... Deep Purple. Yes, that's right.

  • Swedish Copyright Group Wants $5,000 p/yr Permit for Workplace Music
    “Perhaps someone has the radio on or is listening to a CD and if so, you need to have a permit that allows for music to be played the workplace,” said Susanne Bodin, a STIM spokesperson, to the Sweden-based DN newspaper. “A workplace isn’t private and therefore you should have a licence for music to be played so that the copyright holders get paid.”

  • Warning to all copyright enforcers: Three strikes and you're out
    I think we should permanently cut off the internet access of any company that sends out three erroneous copyright notices. Three strikes and you're out, mate.

    Having been disconnected, your customers can only find out about your product offerings by ringing you up and asking, or by requesting a printed brochure. Perhaps you could give all your salespeople fax machines so they can fax urgent information up and down the supply chain. And there's always the phone – just make sure you've got a bunch of phone books in the office, because you'll never Google another phone number.

    Call it a modest proposal in the Swiftian sense if you must, but I'm deadly serious.

    You see, the big copyright companies – record labels, broadcasters, film studios, software companies – are lobbying in the halls of power around the world (including Westminster) for a three strikes rule for copyright infringers. They want to oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to sever the broadband links of any customer who has been thrice accused of downloading infringing material, and to oblige web-hosting companies to terminate the accounts of anyone accused of sticking infringing material on a web server three times.

  • ASCAP Makes Outlandish Copyright Claims on Cell Phone Ringtones
    New York - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal court Wednesday to reject bogus copyright claims in a ringtone royalty battle that could raise costs for consumers, jeopardize consumer rights, and curtail new technological innovation.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 15 (2004)

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

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