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Links 09/10/2009: Hulu Desktop for GNU/Linux, MÃ¥rten Mickos Nods on Oracle

GNOME bluefish



  • New Info on Dell Zino HD Specs
    Both have potentially been readied for Windows XP, Windows Vista or the upcoming Windows 7, with the support page also including a manual for Ubuntu.

  • An Autumnal Tour of Linux Workshops
    For some people, fall means football. For others, it's apple cider, knitting or pumpkin pie. For lovers of Linux, though, autumn is time to fire up the workshop and get cracking on a nice FOSS project. So what's on the menu? Home-brewed browsers, a Linux-powered jukebox, and home automation, for starters.


    The options are clearly many for all of us; as always, choosing among them can be the most difficult part.

    Nevertheless, Pogson added, "thanks for reminding me that GNU/Linux is not a spectator sport."

    And that, dear readers, is a point worth remembering.

  • Going Linux #80 - Listener Feedback
    Audio feedback, a Linux podcast promo, and an advertisement for Linux are all included in this episode along with the regular lister feedback and questions. Our version of the Linux Advert is available from our website (Creative Commons License) using Ken Starks' words, and music (Ashrilyn's "Jungle") from

  • Desktop

    • Confessions of a Linux newbie
      The ability to apply different interfaces to the OS was a novel concept after years of the Windows monolith. KDE, Gnome, and Xfce are the most popular Linux graphical interfaces, most of which are based on the X Window System, but many hard-core Linux users stick with its command-line interface, which harkens back to DOS. Instead of taking whatever features Microsoft offers, Linux lets you mix and match components and functions to meet your needs and fit your style.

    • Small size, small price, big impact
      Chief Information Officer Ben Startzer said the district would purchase even more of the low-cost netbooks over the next year, eventually bumping that number up to around 1,000.


      Netbooks at APS run on Linux Ubuntu, which is a free, open-source operating system distributed on the Internet. That helps keep costs down, Duran said, and the district mainly uses web applications that are freely distributed and require no licensing fees.

    • Make Linux faster, lighter and more powerful
      Gone are the days when you could make a cup of tea and drink it in the time it takes your computer's operating system to boot (with one notable exception). On that basis, you might think that your Linux machines are already performing at the fastest possible speed, right?

    • Hulu Labs Cooks Up Linux Support For Hulu Desktop, New Publisher Tools
      Last May, Hulu launched a new project as part of its alien plot to rot our brains with premium content. Dubbed Hulu Labs, the site now offers experimental new features that users can play around with before they’re ready for prime-time. At launch these included thing like time-based browsing and recommendations, and today, Hulu is launching two new additions to Labs: Publisher Tools and a Linux version of Hulu Desktop.

  • Server

    • Cisco becomes a major Linux server vendor overnight
      I wrote about Cisco's contest last June as Cisco's way of paying developers to stick a finger in the Microsoft eye with a $100,000 bounty for writing Linux-based applications for its AXP (Application Extension Platform).

      I clearly underestimated Cisco's ambitions.

  • Kernel Space

    • New OpenChrome Driver Release (v0.2.904)
      It's been a while since the last OpenChrome driver release for VIA hardware (14 months), but in order to offer compatibility with X.Org 7.5 / X Server 1.7, the team quickly rushed out a new release.

    • More ATI KMS Improvements For Linux 2.6.32
      There's already a fair amount of DRM changes in the Linux 2.6.32 kernel including ATI R600/700 KMS and 3D support, but now nearly half-way into the Linux 2.6.32 development cycle there is a huge pull request of new ATI kernel mode-setting code.

    • LPC: 25 years of X
      The X Window System quietly hit its 25th anniversary back in June; it is, undoubtedly, one of the oldest and most successful free software projects in existence. Keith Packard has been working with X for most of that time; at the Linux Plumbers Conference in Portland he used his keynote address to look at the highlights (and lowlights) of those 25 years and some of the lessons that have been learned.

    • Learn Linux, 101: File and directory management
      This article grounds you in the basic Linux commands for manipulating files and directories. Learn to:

      * List directory contents * Copy, move, or remove files and directories * Manipulate multiple files and directories recursively * Use wildcard patterns for manipulating files * Use the find command to locate and act on files based on type, size, or time * Compress and decompress files using gzip and bzip2 * Archive files using tar, cpio and dd

    • Building Your Own Linux Kernel, part 2
      But the real motivation for building a kernel is to use your own configuration: add new experimental drivers, get rid of drivers you don't need, and make a lean, mean and fast kernel. Wading through the Linux kernel's multitude of configuration options takes some time, so don't be in a hurry. One way to save time is to develop your own base configuration, and then use this as basis to create new custom kernels.

    • Watch the 2009 Linux Plumbers Conference
      Right after LinuxCon this year was the co-located Linux Plumbers Conference. This is not an official Linux Foundation event, per se, but we work closely with the organizers to help them any way we can. It's a great event for system and kernel developers to attend, and this year was no exception.

    • The realtime preemption mini-summit
      Prior to the Eleventh Real Time Linux Workshop in Dresden, Germany, a small group met to discuss the further development of the realtime preemption work for the Linux kernel. This "mini-summit" covered a wide range of topics, but was driven by a straightforward set of goals: the continuing improvement of realtime capabilities in Linux and the merging of the realtime preemption patches into the mainline.

  • Games/Graphics

    • Alien Arena 7.31 Brings Game, Engine Work
      Just days after the release of Nexuiz 2.5.2 that brought many new features to this popular open-source game, Alien Arena is out with a new version. Alien Arena 7.31 is the new version of this multi-platform first-person shooter and it too boasts a modest change-log.

    • Alien Arena 7.31 released!
      Version 7.31 of Alien Arena has been released today for windows and linux users! In addition to some exciting new content, there are also a number of engine improvements, optimizations, and gameplay enhancements.

    • Unigine Engine Now Supports OpenGL 3.2
      The Unigine Engine is arguably the best gaming engine that supports Linux with its very impressive graphics and growing set of features, albeit there's a lack of games that actually use this engine on Linux besides a few tech demos (found in the Phoronix Test Suite).

  • Distributions

    • A Brief Look At Yoper 2009
      Just days after Gentoo resurrected itself with a new LiveDVD release in celebration of its 10th birthday, the developers behind the Yoper Linux distribution have come around with a new development release of its own. Yoper dates back to 2003, and one of their goals is to be the fastest out-of-the-box Linux distribution, but there has not been a new stable release in 28 months and it is not on a rolling release cycle like Gentoo or Arch.

    • Product Spotlight: SystemRescueCD
      If you are looking for yet another tool to add to your system rescue toolkit, you should not overlook SystemRescueCD. With a solid set of tools on a LiveCD it is a must have for serious system administrators. There might be a bit of a learning curve for some of the more difficult tools, but it is worth the time and effort.

    • Spotlight: SystemRescueCD

    • Red Hat brings virtualisation workshops to town
      Virtualisation company Red Hat is giving its partners a sneak preview of Enterprise Linux 5.4 at workshops taking place in Auckland and Wellington later this month.

    • Debian Family

      • Mesa 7.6 Gets Pulled Into Ubuntu 9.10
        Mesa 7.6 does not drastically change the level of performance compared to the older Mesa snapshot that was found in Ubuntu Karmic up until today, but there are improvements in a few areas. In the below example from an Intel G43 system we compared the Ubuntu 9.04, Ubuntu 9.10 Beta, and Ubuntu 9.10 Beta with Mesa 7.6 performance using the Phoronix Test Suite. With the Urban Terror game there were performance improvements already to be found in Ubuntu 9.10 compared to Ubuntu 9.04 with Mesa 7.4, but this latest code steps up the performance one bit more.

      • Opinion: Why Karmic Is The Best Designed Ubuntu Yet
        A much greater selection of elements, colours, themes, tones, etc are present – allowing new users to stamp their authority over their desktop within seconds; no more trudging dodgy wallpaper sites for badly rendered scenery when superb choices are included by default.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based home NAS boasts 5-18 Watt power consumption
      Iomega announced a Linux-based, dual-drive networked attached storage (NAS) appliance for the home-business and consumer market. The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, and offers RAID 1 support, user-replaceable storage, a QuikTransfer copy button, 5-18 Watt power consumption, and a DLNA/UPnP media server, says Iomega.

    • Embedded Linux – Are you already a Linux user?
      For example I recently bought a TomTom Sat Nav GO 730. There is nothing on the device to indicate it’s Linux, there are no Linux messages during start-up, but behind the scenes TomTom Sat Navs are running on the Linux kernel. To a lesser extent some of the Garmin products also use Linux.

      Then there are the hidden technology devices, such as: routers, media streamers and network based storage devices. Or mobile phones such as the Nokia N900 Mobile Phone which uses the Linux Maemo platform. Some media players also use embedded linux.

      There are also a new range of devices which are too expensive to become mainstream except by using the Linux operating system. This includes the Kindle Wireless Reading Device, an ebook reader. [If you are from the UK - you can currently only buy from the Amazon US website - UK buyers can now use your existing account using].

      Why is embedded Linux so popular?

      The reason for the popularity comes down to a number of factors made possible through the free / open source software model.

    • How the Google Phone Works
      Google executives claimed that the company wasn't interested in building hardware. But some Web journalists and bloggers remained unconvinced. By early 2008, it became clear that the Google executives had been straightforward all along -- Google was not getting into the handset hardware game. But they were getting into the handset software business with a mobile operating system (OS) called Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • MResult Healthcare and PatientOS announce new approach for cost-effective Electronic Medical Records
    "We developed PatientOS with an advanced modern software architecture to allow for easy customization." says Gregory Caulton, Principal at PatientOS Inc. "Everything from forms to workflow to the entire user interface can be configured through easy to use admin screens, with no coding involved. From that standpoint, we look at the PatientOS software as a rapid development platform rather than a static product. We made the decision to release the product as open source because we want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. It has been a personal dream to deliver to healthcare what Linus and Red Hat delivered to the world with Linux."

  • Weave 0.7
    Mozilla LABS has released Weave 0.7. This tool lets you securely take your Firefox experience with you to all your Firefox browsers independent of the platform it runs on.

  • Browser Ballot Screen: Time to Prepare
    Perhaps the most important one is that Firefox needs to be prepared for a massive onslaught when this goes live. I have heard the slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Microsoft is hoping to bring Firefox's servers to their collective digital knees by allowing such a ballot screen; even assuming that's not the case, it's certainly true that Mozilla must start planning for the sudden peak in interest that is likely to follow the implementation of the ballot screen idea. It would be a terrible shame if people tried to download Firefox and failed because the Mozilla servers keel over.

  • Five Great Open Source Shopping Cart Systems for eCommerce
    If you're building an online commerce Web site, then a high-quality and secure shopping cart system is a must. With so many open source packages to choose from, it's hard to know where to start. Here are a few options to get you started.

  • Open Source Education: Professors’ Open Source Camp in Singapore
    Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE), a training bootcamp targeted for faculty members of technical universities in Asia is being organized from November 9-13, 2009 at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. Faculty members from Singapore, Malaysia, China, India are expected to participate.

  • Open Source Continues To Spread Through Official Circles
    In the last several years, governments — and particularly those in Europe — have been snapping up Open Source alternatives like little old ladies at Loehmann's. The push towards Open continued this week as the Dutch police ditched Windows for the rosy cap.


    Choosing Linux is part of a recent policy change by the Dutch police — according to the new directive, the service will select only Open Source options for its technology needs. Likewise, a vow to work to advance Open Source and open standards was recently made by the Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs. Reportedly, the shift was the result of the severe criticism received after the organization requested 30,000 Windows systems at the beginning of the year.

  • Sun Tzu and the London Stock Exchange
    I read Sun Tzu's The Art of War more than 10 years ago, and there is one bit of advice that I still use daily in my business dealings. It can be paraphrased as "when attacking an entrenched competitor, you need four times the force. Ten times the force is better." Thus, when Red Hat was building its enterprise business, I made sure that our sales people were focused on customers who could immediately measure 2x the performance at 1/2 the cost (yielding a 4x performance/cost advantage), although 10x performance/cost was more advantageous. It seems that Sun Tzu's math has been understood by the London Stock Exchange, who are seeing a more than 6x improvement in the all-important measure of latency, whilst gaining an impressive 2x cost advantage. No wonder they are switching from a proprietary platform to one based on open source software!

  • Sun

    • Building a Scorecard for Open Source
      In my previous posts, I've drawn an analogy between open source software and organic food,


      To address this, I'm proposing the Open Source Initiative go beyond the Open Source Definition and the Free Software Definition to devise some sort of a Software Freedom Definition which articulates a holistic vision of software freedom against which businesses can be benchmarked. I propose also creating a self-certified score-card which companies can complete to indicate the approach they are taking to promote software freedom as part of their business model - maybe "the Open Source Audit". I'd then expect abuses to be policed by the community at large with final arbitration from OSI.

    • Mickos letter to EU: Approve Oracle-Sun deal
      One who shares this concern is former MySQL CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos. On Thursday, Mickos sent a letter to Neelie Kroes, the European Union's competition commissioner, urging that the deal be approved for the good of the market and MySQL.

  • Business

    • Could Your Open Source Project Support a Business?
      Therefore, to have an open source software business, you need to find a type of software where there are people who need the source code and where there are people who would pay for out of the box features, stability, ease of use, and support. We think we’ve found it with business applications software, such as ERP and CRM software. Virtually all ERP software, even multi-million dollar commercial packages, must be customized, so our users will appreciate having access to the code. Ease of use, stability, out-of-the-box features, and support are things that business users are used to paying for as well. It was this thinking which led us to create the opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM business applicaitons suite.

  • Funding

    • Engine Yard, Host for Ruby on Rails Apps, Nabs New Funding
      Engine Yard offers a cloud-based hosting environment for Ruby on Rails applications. Ruby on Rails is an open source software framework that underlies Twitter and many other well-known applications. You can find many notable applications based on it at Open Source Rails. With substantial funding under its belt, Engine Yard's next move may be to expand its support and services business, a la Red Hat.


    • The UTUTO XS Lemote project begins!
      Richard Stallman talked to us about the possibility of getting some Lemote computers as a donation for this project and he put us in contact with the Lemote company in China.

      A couple of days later Lemote sent us the Yeelong computers and thanked us for our intention of porting our operating system.

      This initiative has the support of institutions that advocate free software and free knowledge.

    • AcaWiki uses free software--and a free software approach--to liberate scientific research
      AcaWiki is a promising new project to build a body of scientific knowledge that is free to use, study, improve, and redistribute. Instead of waiting for journals to make papers more available, they're building a free equivalent that will be just as useful.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Decoding the OSP, and Adobe's big device push
      Adobe yesterday chummed the waters around Flash and AIR as cross-platform app dev environments for mobile devices. It promised runtimes for several popular mobile OSes, and reiterated its commitment to the Open Screen Project, an Adobe-led industry group promoting Adobe's proprietary extensions to Web standards.

    • Source Code Isn't A Standard
      If you take a bunch of different applications that all implement WebKit, you would expect them to render the same things the same ways, but the evidence proves otherwise. My take-away from this little discovery could be summed up like so: Source code isn't a standard.


  • Critics blast $3M mining handout
    A mining company owned by Goldman Sachs and two private equity funds is in line to get a $3 million earmark for work at a rare earth elements mine in Mountain Pass, Calif. — raising questions as to why Congress would take on some of the risk for a bailed-out investment giant that’s already making a profit.

  • Wall Street on Geithner's Speed Dial
    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has kept frequent contact with an exclusive group of Wall Street executives since taking the helm at the Treasury, speaking most often with top officials from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and BlackRock Inc.

    Calendars released by the Treasury Department in response to a Wall Street Journal Freedom of Information Act request show more than 80 contacts between Mr. Geithner and financial titans such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, James Dimon of J.P. Morgan, Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons and Laurence Fink of BlackRock from January through July.

  • AstroTurf

    • Astroturf in the Climate Change discussion
      Yes, let's educate ourselves. A quick check with Source Watch tells us you are funded by Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, Hunt Oil, Lyco Energy Corporation, and Five States Energy Corporation. I consider this relevant information, which you should display prominently on your website, after all, your sponsors should be proud to have their names listed with such an important issue.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse/Spying

    • Beck Tries to Kill Parody Website
      I don't know if you've ever seen the Did Glenn Beck Rape and Murder a Young Girl in 1990 website, but it's fairly amusing. It's a political satire of the style of argument Glenn Beck likes to engage in, which involves requiring that someone prove a negative ("prove you didn't do X") and making claims in the form of an interrogative ("Hey, I'm just asking questions here. I'm not saying he did this. What's wrong with asking questions?").

    • Q&A: Worldwide surveillance and filtering
      Rafal Rohozinski is a founder and principal investigator of the Information Warfare Monitor and the OpenNet Initiative, where he directs a network of field-based staff in Asia, the CIS and Middle East. Rafal has 18 years of field-based experience working in an operational and advisory capacity in 37 countries. In 2005-2006, Rafal served as an embedded Chief Technical Advisor to the Palestinian Authority.

    • ACLU Says Extracting DNA From Suspects Unconstitutional
      California’s law requiring the authorities to take a DNA sample from every person arrested on felony accusations was challenged in federal court Wednesday as an unconstitutional privacy breach.

    • DNA database set to start in a year
      The UAE aims to start collecting genetic samples from residents within 12 months as part of its controversial DNA database project, the programme’s director said yesterday, making it the first country in the world to do so.

    • ID card officials back away from scandal-hit database
      Government plans to store ID card biometrics data on a controversial system used by thousands of public workers might be scrapped.

    • EU, spying on you. The Full Monty
      Earlier today, “To the tune of £10 million (about $C16,973,183), the European Union is backing Project Indect, a five-year spy plan whose principal function would be to secretly monitor almost every aspect of the lives of EU citizens,” said p2pnet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rupert to Internet: It’s War!
      Rupert Murdoch is going to battle against the Internet, bent on making readers actually pay for online newspaper journalism–beginning with his London Sunday Times. History suggests he won’t back down; the experts suggest he’s crazy. Is he also ignoring his industry’s biggest problem?

    • Pirates ! French presidency makes 400 unauthorized copies of DVD
      The French satirical investigative journalism weekly “Le Canard Enchaîné“ reveals that our holier-than-thou presidency is in fact a pirate’s lair. In a stunning display of hypocrisy, the presidential audiovisual services produced 400 unauthorized copies of the 52 minutes documentary “A visage découvert : Nicolas Sarkozy“.

    • Nicolas "Copyright" Sarkozy mass-pirates DVDs
      Glyn sez, "The same French president who has for the second time brought in three strikes to France has for the second time been caught infringing copyright on a large scale.

    • UK latest: it's not a Hadopi, not as we know it
      Parking-fine style Internet suspension may be proposed by the British government, as a sanction for against peer-to-peer users who are alleged to have infringed copyright.

    • Video projector button infringes copyright at 16:9
      JWZ found this description of a button on the remote for his new projector: "If the picture size is compressed or enlarged by using the 16:9 aspect ratio when the projector is used for profitable purpose or in the presence of an audience (for example, in a coffee shop or at a hotel etc.), it may infringe the rights of the copyright owner of the original picture."

    • Postcodes: Adam Crozier letter
      The heavy handed approach by the Royal Mail to a growing sector of not-for-profit citizen focused websites is not new but still deeply regrettable. As a minister, I initiated a conversation that I hoped would lead to Royal Mail taking a more flexible approach with the web community who seek to use geo-spatial co-ordinates to develop new and innovative services that help the public in their daily lives.

    • Guns N’ Roses sued for copyright violation
      The RIAA, FBI and Guns’n’Roses wanted him jailed for uploading nine unreleased tracks from the band’s Chinese Democracy album to his blog, said p2pnet in July.


      In an ironic twist, Guns N’ Roses is being accused of, you guessed it, copyright infringement.

    • Shorter copyright would free creativity
      The film It's a Wonderful Life is now very popular but originally lost money. It was only after 1970 when copyright lapsed and it was taken up by others that it became successful. Ditto The Secret Garden, a children's classic, and numerous others. This is worth noting because governments everywhere are caving in to corporate lobbies by extending the life of copyright, — ludicrous in a digital age — to life plus 70 years. Length of copyright is at the heart of the current debate about whether Google should be allowed to scan books including "orphan works" where copyright is unknown. These account for 40% of all books, according to the British Library, which has scanned less than 5% of its treasures because of the uncertainty of copyright laws. Some suggest that only 2% of all works protected by copyright are commercially available, an absurd misuse of knowledge.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 14 (2007)

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

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