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Links 25/07/2009: ASUS to Bring Linux Smartphones

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux exec: Personal computers will be free like phones
    Look for personal computer users to soon get their hardware in the same way that they get their cell phones: for free as part of telecommunications service subscriptions, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said on Friday afternoon.

    In a presentation at the O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention), Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said a trend will emerge in which users would select a wireless or network service provider and get a free PC when buying a data plan. AT&T, he said, already is offering netbooks as part of a service plan, with the user getting the netbook for $50.

    CodeWeavers, Inc. today announced that recent sales trends position them to overtake Microsoft's operating revenue in 2018, based on Microsoft's fourth quarter report dated July 23, 2009 showing a 17 percent decrease in revenue quarter over quarter.

    Yesterday while eating lunch at his desk, CodeWeavers President and CEO Jeremy White spied a story reporting that Microsoft's quarterly revenues had decreased 17 percent - leading to the first year-over-year decline in their 34-year history. "I nearly spit a mouthful of a Jimmy John's Turkey Tom sandwich onto my desk in excitement and awe," he said, "because our own revenues had grown by more than 20 percent during our fourth quarter."

  • RadeonHD Driver Power Management Improves
    While we just shared that there are now patches available that introduce HDMI audio support for the xf86-video-ati driver, the RadeonHD driver has picked up improvements for power management, an area where previously the xf86-video-ati driver was in a better position. Novell's Matthias Hopf added some power management support for an area of the AtomBIOS that he had reverse engineered, after AMD hadn't provided any public documentation on the matter.

  • Applications

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Screencasting Software
      A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, typically carrying audio narration. Screencasting software takes a series of screenshots of a running application, recording the user's actions, and creating a video file. The movies can be output in a variety of different formats such as Theora, Macromedia Flash (SWF), AVI, and Flash Video (FLV). This type of software was brought into prominence by the commercial Windows application Lotus ScreenCam in 1994.

    • Six new editing tools and four plugins. Shutter just got even better
      The latest version of Shutter (0.80) takes the “serious stuff” to the next level by adding six new features to the Edit tool. Shutter’s screenshot-taking features alone make it worth installing but the additions for editing make it the software of choice. This article describes the latest tools.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat

      • Scientific Linux 4.8 with SquashFS and UnionFS
        The Scientific Linux enterprise platform is available in version 4.8. Next to those from the upstream, downloads can be single packages.

      • Red Hat educates profs
        Red Hat is sowing the seeds of open source software development among college professors.

        This week a fourth-floor meeting room at the company's Centennial Campus headquarters in Raleigh is the site of a boot camp for faculty from a half-dozen universities, including N.C. Central and Elon. It's a prototype for a program whose ultimate goal is to immerse computer science students in real-world open-source development projects.


        Red Hat, which is poised to join the Standard & Poor's 500 index after the market closes today, makes its money by bundling Linux with various levels of support services.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3 Comes with Ubuntu One and Linux Kernel 2.6.31
        A few minutes ago, the Ubuntu developers unleashed the third alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system, which is scheduled for release in late October this year. As usual, we've downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up to date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.10 development.

      • Measuring Ubuntu’s Market Share
        It’s clear from the approaches above that putting a hard number on Ubuntu’s market share is impossible. Canonical seems reluctant to put forward any qualified figure, which is unfortunate–minimally, it would be nice to see an honest attempt at transparent analysis similar to Fedora’s statistics.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • First Garmin-Asus smartphones due out next week
        The Nuvifone G60, which has a 3.55-inch touchscreen and uses a Linux OS, will be in stores July 27 in Taiwan and then in Singapore and Malaysia by the end of August, the company said. The smartphone will be available in Europe and the U.S. later this year.

      • Garmin-Asus To Release Oft-Delayed Nuvifone
        The touch-screen handset was first introduced by Garmin in January of 2008, and its location-based features made some industry watchers think it could be a decent alternative to Apple's iPhone. But the handset has faced multiple delays as Garmin struggled to create a Linux-based mobile operating system from scratch, and Apple has already released two new iPhone models since Garmin first announced its handset.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dell Mini 9: I'm baaack...
        But lo and behold, Dell has brought back its itty-bitty Netbook for $199 until July 27. The price gives you bare necessities: the Ubuntu Linux OS, a 4G SSD, a Webcam, and other basic features.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope Netbook Remix Review
        But wait! While searching the Ubuntu website, I noticed an advertisement for a local distribution known as "Netbook Remix". After delving into the details, I found that this OS was DESIGNED, that's right, designed, to be used on small laptops (much like my Acer).

      • 16 Breakthrough Notebooks: A Look Back
        From the first prototype portable computer in 1968 to the OLPC XO (an inspiration for netbooks) to the CrunchPad Web tablet of the near future, these 16 notebooks mark important stages in the progress of laptops.

      • Laptop prices dip under $300 in the US
        Laptops are closing the price gap on less-powerful netbooks, with retailers delivering fully equipped systems for under US$300 as part of promotional offers.

      • ARM has legs
        With Intel looking to Linux for its Moblin operating system solution for portable device, the Wintel alliance between Microsoft and Intel - which has long had the stranglehold on personal computing - is showing signs of weakening.

        Of course Windows XP/Vista/7 will not run on an ARM processor, so this next generation of devices will see some interesting, not to say overdue, diversification in user interfaces. At the core of many if not most devices will be Linux, skinned with something a bit more approachable than a geeky command-line interface. Maybe even more user-friendly than the current ‘best fit' of Ubuntu Linux that we saw on the Pegatron.

        While Ubuntu is a reasonable clone of the Windows desktop paradigm, in order to make personal computing a truly easy ride for all generations of the family, we should see some interesting graphical interfaces appear on new ARM/Linux mobile internet devices.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fog Computing

    • Maybe software services could harm free software after all (and other news from the Open Source convention)
      What worries free software advocates is that their software can be enhanced without sharing the source, if the software is hidden behind a web interface. I claimed that this is not really a threat to the free software movement because modern languages and development tools make it so easy to replicate a service. In fact, we have so many people creating so many services that nobody has time to try all the ones that interest him.

    • Voxeo Announces Tropo: The Open Source Cloud Telephony Service
      - Tropo "Shims" for Groovy, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby programming languages. Tropo Shims adapt the Tropo core API for use in a specific programming language. Open-sourcing these components enables Tropo to quickly support other programming languages. By releasing this code and working with the open-source telephony community, Voxeo hopes to add support for additional programming languages such as Clojure, JavaFX, and Scala.

  • Hardware/Hybrid

    • FreeNAS: Free and Snazzy Storage Solution
      We've all been on the wrong end of a solution that was sold as inexpensive, free, time-saving, energy saving or one that offered a quick return on investment only to end up spending more on that alternative solution than a mainstream one. For some technologies, you're better off with a brand name, but for a select few, generic is the only way to go. FreeNAS is one of those surprising projects that not only saves you a huge amount of money but is so simple to use that you'll wonder why there's so much mystery surrounding network-attached storage(NAS).

    • Interpreting sign language is just the beginning for the AcceleGlove open source dataglove
      After years in the making, the AcceleGlove open source data glove is now available for purchase from Anthrotronix. Originally designed for use as an automated American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, the AcceleGlove can be used for a host of other applications. Thanks to the open source Software Development Kit (SDK) provided with the glove, developers and hobbyists alike can adapt the glove for use in assistive technology, rehabilitation, robotics, video gaming, virtual reality or a computing input device to name a few.

  • Business

    • WSO2 Amps Up Open Source SOA Offering
      At the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), WSO2, also known as the open source SOA company, announced the availability of the WSO2 Governance Registry 3.0 and the WSO2 Identity Server 2.0, two new installments in its family of open source service-oriented architecture tools.

    • UK's first outsourced Open Source infrastructure drives business growth
      A UK construction group's growth has been assisted by outsourcing its IT systems to one of Europe's fastest growing Open Source services groups. Killby & Gayford (K&G) announced today that its partnership with Sirius Corporation plc is part of a restructuring programme to lower costs and increase operational flexibility.

  • Government

    • Society - maybe there is such a thing after all
      We have examples of endeavours such as Wikipedia, that are only able to be created by a community, working together to create something they could not create individually. The Open Source Software community is another example. Such community efforts deliver efficiency, but the primary driver is an ethical one; as Glyn Moody comments when discussing the General Public License "It is not trying to be “efficient”, it is trying to be ethical; ideally you want both – and in many respects, the culture that the GNU GPL fosters is extremely efficient. But if efficiency and ethics clash, ethics win every time."

    • Open Source Software saves Indian IT@schools program $2 million
      Government authorities in the Indian State of Kerala will save more $US2.27 million by using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) on computers to be installed in schools throughout the state as part of an $US11.7 million (Rs.57 Crore) expansion to its IT@School project.

  • Licensing

    • Why the GNU GPL v3 Matters Even More
      This is important not just because it shows that there's considerable vigour in the GNU GPL licence yet, but because version 3 addresses a particularly hot area at the moment: software patents. The increasing use of GPL v3, with its stronger, more developed response to that threat, is therefore very good news indeed.

  • Openness

    • Should the New Mantra Be: "Free as in Data"?
      The meta-issues that question suggests, which touch on software as a service (SaaS), Internet architecture decisions, and "cloud" software licensing, were the topic of a panel discussion moderated by Bradley Kuhn from the Software Freedom Law Center, "With Software as a Service, Is Only the Network Luddite Free?"

  • Programming

    • C++0x not before 2010 and without 'concepts'
      The forthcoming standard for the object-oriented language C++ will not be released before 2010. It will also lack the planned 'concepts' mechanism. This is according to information in a Dr. Dobbs Journal article by C++'s inventor, Bjarne Stroustrup. Concepts have been "decoupled" – or in Stroustrup's words "yanked out" – by the ISO group responsible for the standard, Working Group 21.

    • Linux and Free/Open Source Software: Why Code For Free? (part 1)
      Many tens of thousands of words have been printed over the years in attempts to answer the question "Why would anyone want to code for free?" Sometimes it is phrased more bitingly, like "Richard Stallman thinks programmers should work for free and starve to death!" With rare exceptions, various pundits, analysts, and random passersby have tried to explain these issues without asking any actual developers, or having any coding experience themselves. And thus in a daring deed of the blindingly obvious, I asked several experienced, professional developers for their views on the subject. These will be published next week in Part 2. Today I'm going to look at the value of Free/Open Source software to the non-coder, us lowly end users.

    • 15 Impressive and Beautiful Uses of WordPress
      WordPress is no longer just used to power blogs. It has become the CMS of choice for many web designers. It’s always interesting to see how it’s flexibility provides web designers with the freedom to design sites with no limitations. Here are 15 beautiful web sites all powered by WordPress.

    • Google Touts Open Source Growth
      Google isn't only crawling your Web site, it's looking at your source code as well. That was the introduction for Chris DiBona, the open source programs manager at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), one of several keynote speakers here at OSCON 2009 today.

      While Google Code Search has been available through Google Labs for some time, DiBona revealed some telling -- and potentially -- unexpected findings about the state of open source.


  • How Reuters Should Be Responding To The AP's Suicide
    Dear AP: your RSS feed is for syndicating your stories. If you don't want the content out there, don't syndicate the content!

  • Associated Press Tries To DRM The News
    DRM has failed in almost every instance it's been tried. Not only does it fail to actually prevent copying, it tends to piss off legitimate users and limit value rather than enhance it. And yet... people keep trying. But, honestly, I can't think of anything as pointless as the latest move from the Associated Press which appears to be an attempt to DRM the news

  • History Lesson: Newspapers Haven't Charged For News In 180 Years

  • Copyright in 561 AD
    Most scholars will tell you, quite correctly, that the very first modern copyright law was the Statute of Anne. which was passed in 1710 in the Kingdom of Great Britain (now the United Kingdom). Prior to its passing, copyright was handled more by giving monopolies to publishers. The Statute of Anne had term limits, namely 21 years and a familiar goal, to promote the printing of new works.

  • Should Copyright Be Abolished On Academic Work?
    We've discussed a few times over the years how copyright gets in the way of academic work. Journals (who get all of their writing and reviewing totally for free) insist on holding the copyright for those works in many cases. I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim.

  • "Should Copyright Of Academic Works Be Abolished?"

  • Protecting the public domain and sharing our cultural heritage
    Last week, the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK sent a threatening letter to a Wikimedia volunteer regarding the upload of public domain paintings to Wikimedia’s media repository, Wikimedia Commons.

    The fact that a publicly funded institution sent a threatening letter to a volunteer working to improve a non-profit encyclopedia may strike you as odd. After all, the National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856, with the stated aim of using portraits “to promote appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture.” [source] It seems obvious that a public benefit organization and a volunteer community promoting free access to education and culture should be allies rather than adversaries.

  • Congrats, RIAA: Chilling Effects Have Killed Interest In New Digital Music Startups
    We've noticed that pretty much every single new and innovative digital music startup that pops up eventually gets sued by the record labels.

  • Fee fight may leave you dining in silence
    Restaurants and clubs threaten to pull plug over bid to increase background music fees

  • Crazy Copyright Law Set to Cause Chaos in S.Korea
    Netizens of South Korea could find themselves at the mercy of a copyright infringement firestorm today, as a tough new copyright law takes effect. A prominent social networking site is sending warnings to its customers about their behavior, noting that far reaching penalties include 6 month Internet disconnections.

  • France angers Big Music
    The Big 4 record labels, Vivendi Universal (France), Sony (Japan), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US), are distinctly unhappy with France’s National Assembly.

  • Plug-pulling ISP changes policy
    Internet service provider (ISP) Karoo, based in Hull, has changed its policy of suspending the service of users suspected of copyright violations.

    The about face was made following a BBC story outlining the firm's practice.

  • Alice in Wonderland Trailer Hits YouTube, Disney Deletes It
    It’s no secret that the web’s been buzzing about Tim Burton’s theatrical rendition of Alice in Wonderland, coming out in March 2010. With Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as The White Queen, and the unique directing style of Tim Burton, how could there not be throngs of excited moviegoers?

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura's Fundecyt foundation 02 (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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