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Links 24/10/2009: Fedora 12 Beta and Linux Mint 7 KDE Reviewed

GNOME bluefish



  • The Wine development release 1.1.32 is now available.
    What's new in this release (see below for details): - Many crypto fixes, particularly on 64-bit. - Improved DVD access on Mac OS. - Several common controls improvements. - Various HTML support improvements. - More DIB optimizations. - Various bug fixes.

  • Linux Day 2009, Multi-source Software Strategies, Patent Trolls: Open Source Events and Webinars, 23-10-2009
    Linux Day - ILS, the Italian Linux Association on Saturday October 24 will runs its ninth annual Linux Day all over Italy, in 122 cities.

  • Audio

    • the_source Episode 10 "Ohio Linuxfest 2009" Released
      This episode includes interviews from Ohio Linuxfest 2009: 40 Years of Unix. Richard Weait talks about Ontario Linuxfest and Open Street Maps, Greg Boehnlein gives an overview of this year's conference, Shawn Powers from Linux Journal talks about the economy of linux, Dave Yates talks about South East Linuxfest and Doug McIlroy talks about the history of Unix.

    • Linux Outlaws 118 - Naughtify OSD
      We recorded this episode in one room together and are releasing to as soon as possible with minimal editing for a change. Since both of us are away for LugRadio Live and OggCamp at the moment, this was the only way to get the content out there without having a massive delay. Therefore, show notes will be added later, basically as soon as we get to it (most likely after the LRL/OggCamp weekend has wrapped up).

    • Editor's Note: Audio Production in Linux
      One thing to beware when you're shopping for external recording interfaces is they like to boast of having skillions of plugins. But they may not be the types of plugins you want. For example, it's common to see numbers like 16 and 24 I/O, but then they have only two mic preamps and the rest are midi, SPDIF, ADAT, MIDI, line, or instrument ports. I need lots of mic preamps and line/instrument ports; the rest, no.

      Stay tuned for further Linux audio production adventures, hopefully happy ones!

  • Desktop

    • Getting A Refund for Unwanted Microsoft Windows
      I strongly encourage people to do this. Sometimes it will work, and you will get some money back, but often it won't, and you will either be ignored, or you will be told, as I have been, that if you don't accept the license agreement, your only option is to return the entire computer for a refund. But either way, it makes some noise and if enough people do it, perhaps some OEMs will start to pay more attention.

    • Debunking Some Linux Myths
      All of the major Linux distributions come in binary form, and installation is essentially the same as installing Windows from scratch - only a lot faster and easier. I can install Linux from scratch, onto a blank disk, and be ready to work in well under an hour. Note that I said "ready to work", not just done with the base installation and ready to start a long cycle of update and service pack installations.

  • Server

    • ZaReason Prepares Ubuntu 9.10 Server, Expands Customer Base
      As Canonical delivers the first Ubuntu 9.10 release candidate to users, niche PC makers like System76 and ZaReason are preparing to offer Ubuntu 9.10 on their systems. We’ve already heard from System76. Now, let’s take a look at ZaReason’s system plans for the new Ubuntu — including thoughts about a new ZaReason server and an expanding customer base.

    • Cosmos to invest in e-commerce platform
      The operator is forecasting technology savings of 40% per year for the next three years with the migration of its inventory platform to a new Linux-based system, provided by Micro Focus.

    • Linux-based route server battles BGP attacks
      IP Infusion announced a Linux-based networking server package based on its ZebOS carrier-grade middleware. The ZebOS Internet Route Server enables service providers to remotely view, monitor, filter, and track networking routes, identifying and avoiding Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) hijacking and other denial-of-service attacks, says the Access subsidiary.

  • Kernel Space

    • Papers from the Real Time Linux Workshop
      There are far too many interesting Linux and free software conferences these days, so it would be difficult—really, impossible—to attend them all. Slides and videos of the talks can help fill in the gaps, but, for conferences with a more academic bent, the papers that are the basis of the presentations can give an even more detailed look. The papers from the recently concluded Real Time Linux Workshop are a good example; this article will briefly look at a few of them.

    • X Server 1.7.1 Released, 1.7.2 In 5 Weeks
      Just as planned, X Server 1.7.1 was released this morning by Peter Hutterer.

  • Applications

  • Games

    • LordsAWar! 0.1.6
      LordsAWar! version 0.1.6, a clone of the turn-based strategy game Warlords II, has been released with the following changes:

      * updated license to gplv3+. * added graphics for medals that get awarded to army units. * added new “inactive” unit graphics in stack display. * improved the “create a new game” experience. * improved the speed of map graphic redraws. * improved the editing of stacks, heroes, and backpacks in the scenario editor. * fixed various crashing bugs. * added new neutral city mode of “defensive”. * updated the user’s manual.

    • Game of the Day - Neverball

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME

      • [ANNOUNCE] Clutter Core 1.1.2 - Developers snapshot
        less than 3 months after the 1.0.0 release here's a new development snapshot for Clutter.

      • GNOME Journal
        Then, out of the blue yesterday, Sumana jumped in and helped to update and re-organize our wiki pages and sent an email to the list mentioning the updates and some ideas for future issues.

    • KDE

      • Amarok 2.2.0: Back on Track
        You owe it to yourself to try Amarok if you’re a fan of music. If you are an old-school Amarok fan, you may not like this release either, but you’ll probably appreciate the effort that’s going into it and the fact that it’s going in the right direction now. I found Amarok 2.2.0 to be an awesome player, and it’s what I’m using as default for my collection.

      • Search and Launch improvements

      • animations in plasma with javascript on top
        We were lucky this summer in that not only did we have a bunch of our own great Google Summer of Code students, but we got one more for "free": a student working with another mentor organization that has a strong working relationship with KDE completed their assigned project rather quickly, and so we inherited them, and another half-project, for the second half of the summer. They worked on animations using the new QtKinetic framework that appears in Qt 4.6 and over the last couple of weeks a number of Plasma hackers descended up on that work. We cleared out some of the lose ends, cleaned up the code, added a bunch more functionality and merged it into trunk this past week.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Freescale merges ARM, E-Ink for next-gen e-book hardware
      Freescale Semiconductor has announced a collaboration with E-Ink that will bring e-paper display controllers directly to ARM-based chips. This move paves the way for future e-paper displays that have color and animation.

    • Kindle sales boost Amazon profits
      Online retailer Amazon reported strong profits between July and September - partly thanks to its most popular item, the Kindle electronic reader.

    • Amazon stops selling Sprint-powered Kindle

    • Phones

      • Raytheon Sends Android To Battlefield
        Google's mobile operating system Android has won plenty of adherents among cellphone makers and gadget manufacturers since its 2007 debut. Now defense contractor Raytheon is preparing it for a more urgent mission: saving lives in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Teotwawki Net: Distributed Discussion System You Control
        TEOTWAWKI Net is an electronic, community networking system intended for deployment anywhere there is no permanent communications infrastructure, other than what people actually carry with them. It currently provides a distributed, de-centralized discussion group system, implementing a private version of Usenet, communicating over 802.11 ad-hoc Wi-Fi links (or physically with USB flash storage devices), and runs on XOs and most generic GNU/Linux systems that have standard wireless networking adapters. The system might be expanded in the future to incorporate other models of collaboration, such as with wikis and other forms of social networking.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Performance
        Overall, Ubuntu 9.10 provides some nice performance boosts to netbook users, as our results show from both the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and Samsung NC10. The boot performance is also faster, but the key areas in Ubuntu 9.10 where there is improved performance is with disk-intensive tasks due to the EXT4 switch and other optimizations along with the graphics performance due to Intel's new Linux graphics stack maturing. Besides the performance changes, the KDE and GNOME desktops have been updated, there is now Ubuntu Moblin Remix, and many other features can be found in the Karmic Koala release to excite mobile Linux users.

      • Linux Netbooks: They're Still Out There
        For example, Dell has expanded their offerings, with desktop and laptop offerings in addition to their Inspiron Mini 10v. The smaller (8.9" screen) Dell Vostro A90 (formerly the Inspiron Mini 9v) remains available starting at $219 factory direct.

      • An Amazing Coincidence or Something More Sinister?
        Hewlett-Packard also did something yesterday, albeit very quietly. HP removed Linux entirely from the part of their website where they sell netbooks. The day Windows 7 became available the HP Mi interface appears to have died a quiet death. A visit to the HP Mini pages reveals that HP is only offering "genuine" Windows 7 and "genuine" Windows XP. I also noticed that the HP Mini 110 also sports a new, higher starting price, a full US $25 more than when I ordered mine earlier this month. I have to assume the Windows license is part of the higher price.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Adobe likes open source
    "Developers", claims McAllister, "drive product adoption. The tools we produce that power these platforms are attractive to this community. Can I do a direct correlation between open sourcing Flex and selling more tools? I cannot. But can I say we have doubled downloads over that time? Yes I can. I do believe that having more developers means we sell more tools."

  • Review of the VanAccess IP0020 Phone
    I've been building and running IP Phone systems for several years now, usually built around the excellent Asterisk open source PBX. My system at home was built with a few Grandstream GXP-2000 telephones. Recently, one of these phones died, and I needed to find an inexpensive replacement. I found the VanAccess IP0020 phone on eBay, being sold brand new for $22 (and a few days after I ordered it, it went on sale for $20). These appear to be placed on eBay in large quantities at very low prices, so if you want one of these you should be able to snag one at any time.

  • Oracle, MySQL and the EU: The Q&A
    Over the course of the last week or so, conversation around the proposed Oracle acquisition of Sun – and thus, MySQL – has reached a boiling point, with commentary arriving fast and furious. There are plenty of pro and con positions on the transaction, and yet I am compelled to comment, both because my opinion has been requested and because I don’t see anyone making the case quite as I would.

    So, with no further preamble, the Oracle/MYSQL Q&A.

  • Open database alliance reaches takeoff stage
    MySQL co-founder Ulf Michael Widenius's dream of having a fully-fledged Open Database Alliance is slowly reaching fruition with the announcement that the project, begun in May this year, has reached its second stage.

  • Ingres Joins Universities to Support Students in Open Source

  • Open Source CMS Market: Lights Beyond LAMP
    The web content management space is not homogeneous. And while the recently released Open Source CMS Market Share Report clearly highlighted the ongoing dominance of LAMP-based content management systems — these systems are not the only game in town.

  • How open source will transform the coming decade
    Which companies top the annual satisfaction survey of CIO Magazine? Red Hat and Google, the largest supplier and user of open source software, respectively.

  • 8 Flexible, Open-Source (or Just Open) Telephony Resources
    Sure, you’re up on Android smartphones and perhaps other Linux-based phone platforms, but the freewheeling world of open source includes many hugely useful telephony applications and platforms that are more unusual. There are useful offerings for businesses and consumers, and you can download and start using many of them for free. Here are eight flexible choices, including several brand new ones.

  • OOo4Kids : for Kids

  • Open Office 4 Kids
    The interface is different as well. Open Office 4 Kids makes use of less buttons in the interface and divides them into a header toolbar and sidebar. The changes are slim at the moment but the developers have plans to implement additional changes in future releases.

  • Big Software has duped us for decades – Part I
    Big Software Goliaths like Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft (MSFT), Sybase (SY) and SAP (SAP) use multi-year enterprise license agreements that lock you into annual fees that go up, but can almost never be reduced. They encourage you to make large upfront purchases of software licenses by providing significant volume discounts. Volume discounts are common in the software industry and help you achieve a lower price-point on your software licenses and annual support fees. However, encouraging you to purchase larger quantities than you need often leads to “shelfware”, i.e., owning a whole lot of software you don’t use.

  • Training and Support: Still Key to Enterprise Open Source Adoption recently conducted its latest iteration of its IT Jury, where it gathers 12 CIO-level IT adminstrators and guages their opinions on various topics. In the latest poll, the jury decided that the costs of migration to open source alternatives to their proprietary software were prohibitive, primarily due to retraining and similar support needs.

  • Events

    • Open Source conference returns to Portland
      With about 1,600 attendees, the gathering isn’t the largest event of the year for the Oregon Convention Center, but it is a significant gathering that buffs Portland’s image as a technology center. The event has been held in Portland since 2004, with the exception of 2007 and 2009.

    • The Gates Are Open For Little Blue - Early - Birds
      This year's — which will, despite the name, be held in Wellington, New Zealand — is fast approaching. For those waiting to get in on the action up front, the time to act is now, because the early bird will soon have flown the coop.

  • Drupal

  • Mozilla

  • Government

    • Kerala scores with open source training
      IT Kerala has claimed success in its initiative to promote use of free open source software (FOSS) in the state, with the first batch of its FOSS-skilled personnel trained by the Centre for Advanced Training in Free Open Source Software, being fully placed in government and private organizations.

    • San Francisco Government and Technology: How We’re Innovating
      Government, like other sectors, has been forced to do more with less because of the economy. Necessity has created a great opportunity for innovation. To improve transparency and engage our tech community, earlier this year I announced an Open Gov Initiative for San Francisco, which focuses on open data, open participation and open source.


      The Open Data Executive Directive and Open Source challenge will take time to implement, but they will improve access to government data, lower software costs and create new jobs.

  • Licensing

    • Free Software but not Open Source
      It is possible for software to be Free Software (in the sense of GPL version 2 compatible), and yet not satisfy the requirements of the Open Source Initiative for being an Open Source license. This is an obscure corner case in the GPL, because people usually (not always) mean Free Software when they say “Open Source” — stressing a technical detail that is a prerequisite for Freedom over Freedom itself.

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Open source identity: Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson
      We've had more than 1400 people contribute code to Rails. It's really amazing. The community consists of hundreds of thousands of developers by some estimates.

    • Why NOT to make programming into a religion
      I find it amusing, as a programmer of computer code, are these arguments I read about how language A sucks when language B is far better. Assume I mean language A to be something like Java and B to mean something like C++ or strait ansi C.

      I hear all the time about why C++ sucks, when compared to C. Or how Java sucks so bad because it is slow and doesn’y really teach you about a how to program.

      I concider myself to be an athiest programmer. Meaning, I don’t worship one language over another. This is not entirely true. I think PHP is far better than Perl. Maybe, I’m just not left brained enough to want to put up with all of Perl’s, let’s try to be as tricky as we can with ONE line of code, instead of making it even close to human readable.

    • The View from ZendCon
      It’s true that the trip out to California is a bit more involved from Maine than from Denver, but the Zend Conference was – predictably – worth the trip. Even if it was in the cavernous San Jose conference center. As one of the larger gatherings of PHP types, it’s an opportunity to take the pulse of an increasingly important language ecosystem. Herewith a brief report – I’m coming off a red eye, so it’s in everyone’s best interests – on the present and future for PHP.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Avoid Trap Of Proprietary Cloud Tooling: Use Simple API
      What's the first thing you should do if you're thinking of developing software for cloud computing? At ZendCon, Zend Technologies user group yesterday, three members of a five member panel answered the same way: adopt Simple Cloud API, the open source cloud services interface.

    • Upcoming 2009 Conference in Orvieto, Italy
      The next incarnation of the 2009 Conference will be held in a couple of weeks in Orvieto, Italy. The exact dates are November 3, 2009 – November 6, 2009. In addition to specifically, the conference will include discussions of the Open Document Format (ODF) and other software that supports it.

    • and ODF Plugfest Conference 2009
      The 2009 conference (4-6 Nov) - organized by PLIO association and Orvieto LUG - has a very rich program, including specific sessions aimed at schools and at OOo development.

    • Lotus Symphony on Linux: Install a part of “IBM’s Smart Work”
      IBM recently announced they are pairing up with Cannonical and Red Hat to develop a Windows 7 alternative (see “IBM Client for Smart Work“). This pairing makes perfect sense as IBM has been a supporter of open source and Linux for some time now. Not only that but IBM released their office suite, Lotus Symphony, a few years ago. Back when this suite was released I did some technical journals on it only to find it difficult to install, rather buggy, and not well supported. That was then, this is now.


  • Cloud Computing. Does it have any value at all?
    I stand on the point that security and control of the data MUST be closely watched. Once your data is on their servers, it is vulnerable not only to hackers trying to get at a successful businesses assets, but the government can play hardball and demand access to that companies data ( which means your data) without actually serving you with a warrant prior to having said data.

  • Goldman Sachs Still Paid for Swaps on Redeemed Bonds
    New Jersey taxpayers are sending almost $1 million a month to a partnership run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for protection against rising interest costs on bonds that the state redeemed more than a year ago.

    The most-densely populated U.S. state is making the payments under an agreement made during the administration of former Governor James E. McGreevey in 2003, when New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund Authority sold $345 million in auction-rate bonds whose yields fluctuated with short-term interest costs. The agency finances road and rail projects.


    John McCormac, the Mayor of Woodbridge, N.J., state treasurer at the time of the 2003 deal, declined to discuss the issue in a telephone conversation today. “I have no recollection of anything,” he said. “Ask the treasurer.”

  • Governor Jon Corzine, GoldmanSachs Former Chairman
    What is interesting here is the fact that Jon Corzine is Governor of New Jersey and was a U.S. Senator. Now N.J. taxpayers are paying "his old company".

  • New Jersey Taxpayer Paying Goldman Sachs $1 Million Month For Bonds That Don't Exist (GS)
    This is just one of several stories of interest-rate swaps gone bad. But bear in mind a few things. Everyone seems to have been caught off guard by the decline in interest rates over the past few years. This isn't just a matter of banks foisting bad deals on state and municipal governments -- Larry Summers (no fool) got burned when serving as the President of Harvard.

  • AstroTurf

    • Dear Lobbyists: When Crafting Astroturf Letters, Remember To Do A Search & Replace On XYZ Corp.
      In researching this further, Karl also can't find any other evidence that the Arkansas Retired Seniors exist. Separately, he found another mistake by the lobbyists when it sent a different anti-net neutrality letter from Grumman Shipbuilding (ship builders against neutrality?). This one wasn't as egregious, but the lobbyists forgot to remove the header info that says "Governor/PUC Letters to FCC on Net Neutrality" with the neat little classification system the lobbyists use: "Letter 2: Specific to Investment and Employment." Wonder what the original header for XYZ organization was?

    • Yes Men Pull Off Chamber Of Commerce Hoax On Climate Change (VIDEO)
      Political performance artists, The Yes Men, have taken credit for today's prank, in which they posed as Chamber of Commerce officials pushing for comprehensive climate change legislation. In a statement from the group offered hours after a fake press conference was held at the National Press Club and a fake press release was sent out under the Chamber's name...

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Disney's Keychest: Is Giving Back Your Fair Use Rights With More DRM Really A Step Forward?
      So, kudos to Disney for recognizing that people hate having to buy the same content over and over again and hate being limited on what devices they can view content on... but, creating a new, more permissive DRM solution, just to give back some of an individual's fair use rights, isn't really a huge win.

    • Big Internet carriers win right to manage traffic
      Canada's big Internet carriers have scored a major victory, as the telecommunication regulator ruled it is okay for them to slow down some of the Web traffic travelling to customers' personal computers – as long as the companies explain ahead of time what they are doing.

    • Spanish net neutrality definition
      A Spanish colleague sent me this “net neutrality” definition from a Spanish law:
      Citizens have the right to not suffer in their digital sent or received data any kind of manipulation, distortion, prevention, diversion, priorization or delay.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apology for singing shop worker
      Sandra Burt, 56, who works at A&T Food store in Clackmannanshire, was warned she could be fined for her singing by the Performing Right Society (PRS).

    • European Internet sinking fast under 3-strikes proposals
      Things look bad for the European Internet: "3 strikes" (the entertainment industry's proposal for a law that requires ISPs to disconnect whole households if one member is accused -- without evidence or trial -- of three copyright infringements) is gaining currency. Efforts to make 3-strikes illegal are being thwarted by the European bureaucracy in the EC.

    • Europe backs down on piracy plans
      The European Parliament has given the green light for member states to cut persistent file-sharers off from the net.

    • EU Parliament Pressured By France, Removes Clause That Bans Kicking People Off The Internet
      With France passing its new law to kick accused file sharers off the internet based on accusations rather than due process, you may wonder how that could possibly square with the EU Parliament's position from earlier this year that no one should be kicked off the internet without due process, and should only be allowed in "exceptional circumstances."

    • Court Orders The Pirate Bay To Delete Torrents
      The Amsterdam court today ruled that The Pirate Bay must remove a list of copyrighted torrents from their website within three months. In addition they have to block Dutch users’ access to parts of the site where copyrighted torrent can be downloaded. If not, the three ‘operators’ will have to pay penalties of 5,000 euros ($7,500) per person, per day.

    • Anti-filesharing laws revive crypto fears for spooks
      The UK's intelligence and law enforcement agencies fear the government's anti-illegal filesharing plans will lead to a rise in encryption, scuppering their own efforts to monitor the internet, it's claimed today.

    • Dear WSJ: To Avoid Google Disease, Please Put A Condom On Your Content
      I’d thought I’d heard it all in the debate over Google and newspapers, but yesterday Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson took it up a notch. He accused Google of making people slutty. If we’re using sexual metaphors now, here’s another one. Why doesn’t the Wall Street Journal and News Corporation in general put a condom around all of its content, to protect itself from Google? There’s a good brand called robots.txt that will help.

    • Is P2P Dead? Not So Fast
      One conclusion of the analysis of all this data is that P2P isn’t as dominant as it used to be. In 2007, it accounted for 40 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Arbor. Fast-forward two years, and it’s down to 18 percent. However, that doesn’t exactly mean that P2P is dead. It’s just not growing as fast as web-based video streaming, which has been largely responsible for a huge overall growth of net traffic. In other words: A smaller piece of a much larger pie can still be a whole lot of pie.

    • Consumers Buried Paul: 'Beatles Rock Band' a Sales Dud
      Despite an extensive marketing campaign, positive reviews and some of the most widespread media attention ever given to a video game, “The Beatles: Rock Band” had a relatively lackluster first month on store shelves.

    • New US Ambassador To Canada Kicks Things Off By Pushing For Bad Copyright Laws
      So it looks like the "timing" on Barrie McKenna's ridiculous Globe & Mail column spewing a bunch of recording industry propaganda wasn't so random after all. Just after it came out, the new US ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, made a point of scolding Canada for its copyright laws, and sticking by the decision to put Canada on the "watch list" in the USTR special 301 report.

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