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Links 14/07/2009: Android Scales Up, Linux 2.6.31 Now @ RC3

GNOME bluefish



  • 5 Ways to Use Your Old PC
    #1 Install Ubuntu or other distribution to experiment with Linux

    If you haven't already, you could discover the world of free and open source computing by fiddling around with Linux. Within an hour or so, you can download and install Ubuntu, or one of the other thousands of distributions (distros) onto your old PC. You can even test it out before installing anything to your hard drive, using the live CD mode of some distros.

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS and the Open Source Desktop
      So far, Google has showed itself to be a first-rate development shop with projects like Gears or the Chrome Browser. However, it has been substantially less successful at marketing and monetizing projects. While projects like Google Earth or Street View or even Android attract all sorts of media attention, Google has yet to wean itself away from its dependency on search ads for its main revenue.

    • Google names Chrome OS partners
      Google followed up on Thursday's announcement of a Linux-based Chrome OS for netbooks by listing nine technology partners that are supporting the open-source platform. Meanwhile, one report claims that Intel, which is not on the list, is collaborating with Google on Chrome OS.

    • The Android OS comes to the PC
      GOOGLE'S MOBILE PHONE operating system called Android has come to the PC in a LiveCD version.

      A couple of blokes have recompiled the OS so it's capable of running on a common x86 platform. This is just in time to see what Android is really like, before Acer, Asus, MSI and others officially release their netbooks with the operating system preloaded on them.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs v0.19 Brings Some Gains, Some Losses
      As we shared early on in this article, the Btrfs v0.19 notes mention, "In general, v0.19 is a dramatic speed improvement over v0.18 in almost every workload." From our Btrfs file-system tests today, this is partially true. We encountered several tests where there were indeed hefty speed-ups in performance with the Serial ATA 2.0 SSD being tested, but in other tests, there was a very evident drop in performance. Specifically, the write performance always seemed to be better, but that was not always the case for the read performance. There was generally a 14~16% drop in performance when this problem occurred. Granted, due to the differing kernels and just not the Btrfs difference, this could be attributed to something else within the Linux kernel, but nevertheless this does show some signs of problems with the newest Linux code.

    • Not-so-evil empire
      Not only did I decide to avoid Linksys this time, but the Netgear one made a big deal about running open-source software, and I assume the "L" at the end of the name means that the open-source in question is Linux. Sure, Linksys had a Linux router too (with a penguin!) but let's face it, they screwed up, so I'm giving the competition a go this time.

    • Linux 2.6.31-rc3
      As I mentioned last time, I really wish things would calm down. And to _some_ degree they have. In other areas? Not so much.

      That said, the single biggest patch here is actually a revert - a removal of the Langwell USB OTG driver that wasn't ready and needed infrastructure that isn't going to happen in 2.6.31.

  • Applications

    • Clusters That Produce: 25 Open HPC Applications
      Everyone knows applications drive the HPC boat. It is one thing to run benchmarks and burn-in programs, but when it is time for production work, applications take over. Fortunately, there are many applications that can take advantage of clusters. These applications can be divided into three oversimplified categories.

      * Sequential Applications - These applications run on a single core. While they may not be parallel (use multiple cores) the end user may run many copies of the same program with different input parameters. This type of computing is often called parametric processing. These types of programs can be written in any type of computer language. * Threaded Applications - These applications use multiple cores, but only on one SMP node. Most of these programs are written using C/C++ or Fortran and use pthreads or OpenMP - As core counts increase many HPC users are taking advantage of this approach.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Mint 7 Review
      Linux Mint 7 is the latest incarnation of the Ubuntu based distribution. Read on to find out why it might just displace Windows as my primary OS.

      I have tried dozens of Linux distributions over the years, and very few have been installed on my system for more than a few days. Once the novelty of a new interface, a new bunch of applications and that warm glow that comes from being just a little bit geekier wears off I find myself facing the same dilemma: Windows worked, and the applications I was used to were mostly Windows based. It's not that I couldn't learn to use, or even love, Linux; it's just that I didn't have time.

    • Shuttleworth hints at later Ubuntu LTS
      The expectation was that the next LTS version would be 10.04, due for release in April 2010, but in an interview with, Shuttleworth says "The LTS will be either 10.04 or 10.10 - based on a conversation that is going on right now betweeen Debian and Ubuntu".

    • Shuttleworth about GNOME 3.0 - What's good, what's missing, what needs work
      Sees good possibility of having a common meta-release cycle with Debian - Not sure if GNOME3 will make the next LTS

      In the last few years Ubuntu has emerged as the dominant force in the Linux Deskop field. The distribution is heavily associated with one name: Mark Shuttleworth is not only founder an current boss of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, he has also been providing the financial resources without which Ubuntu in its current form would not exist. During the recent Gran Canaria Desktop Summit Andreas Proschofsky had the chance to conduct the following interview with Shuttleworth.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fast-boot environment moves to Moblin
      Phoenix Technologies announced that its fast-boot "HyperSpace" technology is now "aligned" with the Moblin project and that it will work with Intel to promote the technologies to netbook and nettop OEMs and ODMs. HyperSpace will improve the Linux-based Moblin stack's already considerable capabilities for fast-boot and power management, says Phoenix.

    • HP Mini 110 now available in Australia
      The Linux based model comes with a 16G solid state drive in place of a hard disk, and sells for $499.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Firefox 3.5 vs. Internet Explorer 8: Which is Safer?
    So I remain a Firefox (+ NoScript) guy. In fact, on my Macs, it is pretty much the only browser I use, despite the fact that it does a lousy job at integrating into the operating system features in the same way that Safari (and other Apple software) does. Were there a NoScript for Safari, I’d jump on it. But to my knowledge, there isn’t, so I stick with Firefox—and I feel pretty confident in my browsing security on the Internet.

  • Apache Lucene Helps Online European Library Open Its Virtual Doors
    When a group of European museums joined together to put images of all of their paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos and other artifacts together in a centralized, online collection for the world to view, they turned to open source enterprise search software to make it happen.

  • Release of IFOSSLR
    Today marks the (soft) launch of a new journal dedicated to Free and Open Source Software legal issues (a “hard” launch with printed copies is happening in London on Wednesday). The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review is an initiative of the freedom taskforce run by FSF Europe. I am on the editorial panel and am also happy to take credit for initially floating the idea of having a journal. I am also happy to praise the enormous effort that has gone into putting the law review together by the other members of the editorial committee and to the sponsors for supporting it.

  • Free/Open Source Law journal launched
    A new legal journal has been launched that deals specifically with issues around free and open source software. The "International Free and Open Source Software Law Review" (IFOSSLR) is a bi-annual peer reviewed publication. The editorial committee is made up of members of the European Legal Network, a group of legal experts founded by the Free Software Foundation Europe in 2007.

  • BBC begins work on open source documentary series
    The BBC has begun working on a series of four one-hour documentaries for its BBC Two channel about how the web has, and still is, changing our lives. The current working title for the open and collaborative documentary series is the "Digital Revolution".

  • Pirate Bay founder labels 3D printers "the future of sharing"
    The RepRap design team has followed the Free Software Movement in licensing its design for zero cost under the GNU General Public License. If you want to build one, all the plans are available free on the Web. So, if you fancy making your own wine glasses, there's nothing stopping you. Just don't come crying to us when your RepRap becomes self-aware and endlessly replicates itself, driving you from your home.

  • Open-source extremism...and how the OSI can help
    I'm sure the current OSI board disagrees. It's not alone. OSI board aspirant Bruce Perens partly based his candidacy to be on the board on the premise that the OSI needs fewer vendors represented and definitely not Microsoft. I doubt Perens will agree with much of what I write here.

    Even so, the OSI--and open source more broadly--would do well to incorporate the various, opposing biases that make for real debate...and better results. OSI President Michael Tiemann calls out others' bias without seeming to recognize just how helpful it would be to have that bias represented at the table.


  • Does The Mainstream Press 'Make' or 'Own' The News?
    In his recent post, Mike discussed how there is a two-way street between blogs and newspapers, in which both become aware of stories from each other, and both borrow ideas. Techdirt believes this is part of the free market for ideas, and that nobody can own news, but we contrast this belief with the mainstream media moguls, who rant about how bloggers "poach" the news from the newspapers, offering naught in return. There is a trend of major publishers talking about how they "own" the news they "made", even when they themselves are just reporting on stories that occurred to other people. If anyone made the news, isn't it the people involved? But news is really just facts, and nobody can "own" reality.

  • Copyrights

    • Pirate Bay Block Violates Democratic Principles, ISP Says
      Norway’s largest Internet provider ‘Telenor’ was dragged to court by the movie and music industries last month, after it refused an earlier request to disable customer access to The Pirate Bay. Today, Telenor explains why it didn’t cave in to the legal pressure and says it wants the courts to rule on the issue instead.

    • The Death Of
      Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen has a detailed (and somewhat tragic) story of why the site InfomercialScams is no longer in existence, and the domains of the site are now owned by Video Professor, a company notorious for threatening online critics, such as those commenting on sites like InfomercialScams.

    • EMI To Mom & Pops: Eat Cake Bitch
      So let me get this straight. EMI intends to save money by not selling their CD’s to independent retailers. Instead they want these retailers to go to one stops for their product.

    • Stephen Fry: Time For Politicians To Represent People's Interest On Copyright, Not Corporations
      This is an important point, actually. Thanks to some of the press coverage, and the way the industry often tries to frame this debate, you get this picture of evil kids destroying an industry by downloading tons and tons of content. And, there are some folks out there who do download a ton of stuff. But the real issue isn't with that group of folks, who would never have bought any content in the first place. It's with the everyday folks, like Stephen Fry, who would just like to access the content in the most convenient way possible -- and the industry is failing him. The answer isn't to go after some kids and fine them millions or throw them in jail. It's to respond to the market.

    • Music industry wrong about file sharing teens
      If the music industry thinks that file sharing teens are the biggest problem it faces, it had better think again according to a new report into the digital piracy threat.

      Speaking at the iTunes Music Festival in London last night, to an audience comprised largely of teenagers, Stephen Fry launched a somewhat surprisingly ferocious attack on how the entertainment industry tries to defend copyright interests in the digital age.

    • Yorkshire cops accused of copyright theft
      Police in West Yorkshire are facing High Court accusations they illegally cribbed and sold copyright data from a commercial mobile phone forensics application.

      Kent-based Forensic Telecommunications Services (FTS) is demanding up to €£50,000 from the force for allegedly using material from its software, Hex. The package helps investigators examine mobile phones without a SIM card, allowing them to recover call registeries and deleted texts, as well as identify SIM cards that have been used in the device.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 18 (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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