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Links 25/09/2009: Ubuntu 9.10 Appearance Finalised, Ulteo Runs on EC2

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Outlaws 112 - PS3 Gaming Special

  • Desktop

    • The Linux Desktop - The View from LinuxCon
      Clearly IT, especially those in the desktop space, is looking at, if not an inflection point, then certainly the beginning of sea change. There is no question that the definition of a desktop is undergoing a change as more and more companies rethink the necessity to put a machine under each desk. Data breaches, maintenance costs, changing device preferences and increased connection speeds are making us consider the solutions we are asked to present; as maintenance and installation costs become the long pole in the budget tent, anything that we can do to shorten that pole is good. And a Linux desktop, whatever that means, is certainly going to play a big role providing those solutions.

    • Should Operating Systems Be Intuitive?
      How do operating systems and breastfeeding figure in the same discussion? One is intuitive and the other isn't -- or neither is, or both ought to be, depending on your point of view (and perhaps how your mother fed you).

  • Kernel Space

    • Does this Kernel make me look FAT?
      Recently Linus Torvalds referred to the Linux Kernel as bloated and scary. So what is next? Does anyone want to go back to the days of spending hours tinkering with your system in order to use your Scanner or Printer or Webcam. Or are you like me and you enjoy the features of the current Linux Kernel, you enjoy the pain free setup. And other features like easily being able to setup accelerated 3d for gaming and Compiz Fusion.

    • Building Your Own Linux Kernel, part 1
      The kernel folks at your favorite distro -- Ubuntu, Redhat, Debian, SuSE or whatever -- do a great job. Somehow, they come up with a kernel that works with just about machine, from 10-year-old klunkers to brand new 8-core speedsters. When you think about it, it's amazing your machine boots at all!

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Minimal Window Managers: Day 1
      After getting a lot of feedback from the crowd regarding window managers I’ve decided to try a few out. Initially I’ve tried awesome and wmii, and I’m fairly impressed with both. I do wish I could combine some of the features that I like from each one–and maybe that is possible.

    • First impressions of gnome-shell
      I’m quite conservative with my desktop usually, I like the default Ubuntu configuration and know it well. That said I’m enjoying using gnome-shell and intend to use it for a while at least. I’m looking forward to it evolving, including new concepts and growing more popular. The negatives I’ve noticed I think are mostly down to lack of time. I’m not sure if it’s going to be “ready” for the targeted date of next March and am not sure that it should be – there’s plenty more to prototype.

  • Distributions

    • Kahel Linux: Yet Another Philippine-made Distro
      Here's an interesting note from Kahel's project website:

      "Kahel OS is not just an Operating System so to speak. IT is not just a Technology Product on a Linux and Open Source Platform added to the thousands of FREE Distros already available in the community. IT does not explicitly want to be different or to be set apart from the rest. However, among others, we simply would like Kahel OS (just like our team) to be the embodiment of our IT Values and Philosophy.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva/Ulteo

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Software Store Generates Questions
        Given the likelihood that the Software Store will eventually become a channel for selling applications in addition to distributing Free ones, and that that development is in the interests of everyone, I don’t see a reason to worry so much about the implications of the term “store.” Although the application won’t serve as a store in Ubuntu 9.10, it may well become one in future releases. And that’s fine.

      • The Final Artwork of Ubuntu 9.10
        A few minutes ago, Canonical uploaded the default wallpaper(s) and artwork for the upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system. The default theme is still Human but the Window Border has a different color and the default icons are Humanity. The big surprise is that there are now 17 new wallpapers, except that compilation of "astronomical" backgrounds we announced a couple of days ago. However, the orange wallpaper you see in the screenshots below is the default one and it's also set as the background for GDM (the login screen).

      • Karmic Koala’s New Login Screen Revealed
        The login window that will be greeting all users of Karmic Koala has finally been revealed.

      • Karmic Network Manager's Updated New Look (Updated Again!)
        Overall It's a great improvement, and having 'active' and 'available' networks separated is a simple but bloody useful idea!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Final Artwork [Screenshots]
        Today is Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala artwork deadline which means all the artwork will remain unchanged from now on, until Karmic is released. There have been a lot of updates today, so let's take a look at how Ubuntu Kamic Koala will look like.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Release Schedule
        December 3rd, 2009 - Alpha 1 release; January 7th, 2010 - Alpha 2 release; February 4th, 2010 - Alpha 3 release; March 4th, 2010 - Beta 1 release; April 1st, 2010 - Beta 2 release; April 15th, 2010 - Release Candidate; April 29th, 2010 - Final release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

      • Going minimal on my Ubuntu desktop
        In GNOME, the panel takes up enough screen real estate on a netbook to be annoying. A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that I took stock of the few icons I had on the panel and came up with two that I really needed. They’re both panel applets, and I don’t know of any other way of launching them. So I deleted all of the icons I didn’t need and moved the sshMenu and Trash applet icons to the top panel.

      • LoCo stories: the Ubuntu New Mexico team helps the Endorphine Power Company
        We’re kicking off the regular series of LoCo stories with a great one which truly encompasses the spirit of Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux vs. Windows 7: A Chat with Microsoft
      I still think Linux is going to gain and keep huge share here - the price is right, many developers know it, the tools are, depending upon edition, there, and it's open-source, a big plus in embedded apps. But Windows will hold its own here, for at least a while longer. Even Microsoft, I think, will have a Linux offering at some point.

    • Vodafone picks a Linux-phone
      The LiMO Foundation is celebrating Vodafone's endorsement with two handsets from Samsung, but the news that the Linux-based alternative isn't dead won't be received well over at Symbian.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • One Laptop Per Child marches on
        Sean Daly from Sugar Labs, the company that develops the XO's kid-friendly front-end software, maintains that OLPC is still achieving some great results despite press reports to the contrary. "OLPC is concentrating on getting laptops to kids and not its image in the tech press," he told us.

      • As IBM and Canonical Eye Africa, OLPC's Missteps Come to Mind
        While IBM and Canonical are initially aiming only at business users in Africa, I won't be surprised to see this partnership spread to other similar efforts around the world. There are reports that the software suite the companies are producing is being tested in areas outside Africa. It's inevitable that computers will make their way into the hands of people around the world who might not have previously been able to afford them. The IBM and Canonical partnership presents solid evidence that existing freeware and open source can be powerful drivers for that trend.

      • Tablets, Netbooks and Ultra Thins... Oh My!
        Trinity Audio Group's awarding winning Indamixx line of portable studio's partners with Renoise and Create Digital Music to kick off this falls hottest song contest. "Trackers are back" says creative director Ronald Stewart.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Air traffic control radar display published as open source
    The Swiss company Skysoft has made software available to display radar data for air traffic controllers. The application, Albatross Display, and its source code was made public earlier this month.

  • Latest Open-Xchange Enhancement Consolidates Webmail and Social Media
    Open-Xchange, the leading provider of open source groupware, now gives users the ability to consolidate any kind of existing webmail accounts - for example from Google and Yahoo -- into a folder in Open-Xchange so they can managed more easily.

  • Digium€® and Incendonet Extend Asterisk€® with Speech Recognition Solutions
    Digium€®, Inc., the Asterisk€® Company, and Incendonet, Inc., a leading provider of speech recognition solutions for the enterprise, today announced that companies using Asterisk for their IP-PBX communications needs can now add speech recognition-based solutions in a plug and play manner to improve customer service, reduce operating costs and increase mobile worker productivity with Incendonet’s SpeechBridge€®.

  • Open Source Is Key to Cloud Computing: Yahoo! SVP
    Shugar: For startups and small companies, there are public cloud offerings coupled with other commercial cloud vendors that can provide a pay as you go infrastructure minimizing CapEx investments and reducing the risk in deploying new products. For larger or enterprise companies, a hybrid model maintaining existing compute infrastructure while leveraging public cloud offerings for less critical or experimental projects may provide more flexibility at reduced CapEx.

  • Business

    • Running Your Business With Open Source Software
      Why throw your money away? In the almost decade I’ve been working in the IT field, I’ve seen companies make some really stupid financial decisions when it comes to technology. Everything I’ve wrote above are things I noticed real companies doing. Buying Windows licenses for associates that don’t do anything Windows-specific, spending money on the Windows Server operating system just to share a measly 5-12GB of files, and buying Outlook licenses for people that probably could do well with Thunderbird or web-mail are just some of the things I’ve seen companies do to flush their money away.

      The moral of the story is to think before you act, and buy the things you absolutely need, and to save money where you can. If you can save money within your organization, you can put it in another area, such as purchasing more servers or increasing your allowable bandwidth. If you require Windows servers and applications, that’s absolutely fine as not all businesses can control what the suppliers require. However, use free software wherever it may fit in your organization. You’ll put some money back into your IT budget. So why do IT departments use closed source software when they don’t need it? I have no idea.

    • The second wave in open source
      The economic malaise currently gripping the globe has claimed many victims, but one area of business that has actually benefited is open source software adoption.


      A platform that goes well beyond what was achieved with LAMP and that extends into portal, integration busses, process management and data management. And that is fully supported by open source management tools.

  • Government

    • UK government ignoring own rules on open source
      Open source vendors are calling on the UK government to put its money where its mouth is and police its own rules on public sector open source software procurement - which were revised in February this year.

  • Licensing

    • Big GPL copyright enforcement win in Paris Court of Appeals
      An education organization in France has successfully sued a software vendor for failing to comply with the open source General Public License. The ruling is significant because it demonstrates that software recipients, and not just developers, can launch GPL enforcement cases in France.

    • French court hands GPL victory
      It's the reason why Microsoft's Steve Ballmer calls Linux viral. But French courts obviously think it has merit because the GNU General Public Licence has been upheld in a court of appeals in France.

    • The Firefox in the Win House?
      The Advisory Opinion held that as long as the IP address of the party downloading the software in Iran (or other sanctioned country) was logged by Mozilla’s server but not otherwise used by Mozilla (say, for example, to serve to the user a web page in Farsi), the company did not have sufficient knowledge of an export of encryption software to Iran to be liable under the regulations.

  • Openness

    • Second Wind for Second Life?
      As a result, recognising that a new approach was needed, Second Life's founder Philip Linden stepped aside from the day-to-day running of the company, and brought in Mark Kingdon. When I interviewed him earlier this year, he was naturally upbeat about the future of Second Life, so I was glad to have the opportunity to talk to him this morning about how things are going, and to see whether Second Life really has found its second wind.

    • Clay Shirky: Let a thousand flowers bloom to replace newspapers; don’t build a paywall around a public good
      NYU professor and Internet thinker Clay Shirky gave a talk Tuesday at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, our friends just on the other side of Harvard Square. His subject was the future of accountability journalism in a world of declining newspapers. Even for those of us familiar with his ideas, he brought in a few new wrinkles, which have already been the subject of commentary around the web.

    • Welcome to the DRIVER search portal!
      Use the search box on the left to search the European Information Space for Open Access scientific publications. The DRIVER Information Space consists of

      * approximately 1,000,000 documents

    • What is EnablingOpenScholarship
      EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS) is an organisation for universities and research institutions worldwide. The organisation is both an information service and a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities and research institutions, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings.

    • State of New York's LaborForge Helps Agencies Collaborate
      As local and state operational budgets dwindle, many government agencies are turning to open source software to help manage workflow both internally and with other departments. As part of a Collaboration Initiative, The New York State Department of Labor launched LaborForge, a public repository designed specifically for sharing labor-related source code and design documents.


  • China may overtake Britain and France in IMF vote
    China will get the biggest increase in voting power at the International Monetary Fund when the global lender completes a long-awaited restructuring in 2011, the head of the IMF said on Tuesday (22 September).

  • AstroTurf

    • PR or science journalism? It's getting harder to tell
      Faced with a shrinking audience of journalists for their press releases, a consortium of universities has launched Futurity, a site that will aggregate edited versions of the best materials produced by university press offices.

    • A New Way to Enjoy Nicotine Addiction
      Amid an increasingly hostile climate towards secondhand smoke and tobacco advertising, tobacco companies are battling to maintain both their nicotine markets and the ability to use their logos. R.J. Reynolds stopped advertising cigarettes in magazines in 2008, but is once again printing its Camel logo in major magazines like Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and Maxim, in ads for a new form of non-combusted tobacco called "snus" (rhymes with "moose").

    • The Lie Machine
      In fact, Scott's own group had played an integral role in mobilizing the protesters. According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients' Rights had been working closely for weeks as a "coalition partner" with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett's. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Please Help Save European Net Neutrality
      A few days ago I was ruminating on the recent on-the-spot conversion of the US FCC's Chairman to network neutrality. I pointed out there was a new site devoted to preserving the same in Europe, called EU Open Internet, which has now clocked up a respectable 2,700 signatures.

      Unfortunately, there is a specific threat to net neutrality in Europe, hidden away in the Telecoms Package.

    • EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records
      A judge ordered the government Thursday to release more records about the lobbying campaign to provide immunity to the telecommunications giants that participated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered the records be provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by October 9, 2009.

    • Obama’s Disappointing State Secrets Procedures
      After months of internal review, the Obama Administration today announced a new policy on the use of the state secrets privilege. The state secrets privilege traditionally allows the government to withdraw particular pieces of evidence from a court case on the grounds that the evidence would reveal sensitive classified information. Despite this limited purpose, it's been repeatedly misused by the Bush and now Obama administrations to try to throw important litigation out of court, and is badly in need of reform.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A crowd-sourced translation of The Lost Symbol: is this copyright infringement?
      His last book, The Da Vinci Code, was wildly popular in China and propelled translations of his earlier novels onto bestseller lists as well. The latest thriller, which follows the further adventures of intrepid symbologist Robert Langdon, should sell well over here too.

      Once it's translated, that is. People's Literature Publishing House expects a Chinese edition to be on shelves sometime in 2010.

    • Two More Pirate Bay Appeal Judges Accused of Bias
      Earlier this week TorrentFreak reported that there had been objections over one of the proposed lay judges set for the Pirate Bay appeal. Now there are yet more claims of possible bias, this time with two of the main judges who have both been members of pro-copyright groups.

    • Music piracy costs money; does fighting it cost more?
      The major music labels say that they stand to lose €£200 million this year in the UK alone thanks to Internet file-sharing. But one of the country's biggest ISPs is now slinging around some huge numbers of its own, saying it will actually cost ISPs €£365 million a year to adopt "three strikes" rules meant to stem piracy.

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