Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 13/11/2009: GNU/Linux in Vatican Library and Cuba

GNOME bluefish



  • Vatican Library Uses Linux
    I was browsing the Vatican Library website when I chanced upon this bit of interesting information. The Information Technology Center (C.E.D.) of the Vatican Library uses Red Hat. The site’s info page reveals that C.E.D.’s networks “are protected internally by two first-level firewalls in a Linux Red Hat environment”. But that’s not all. Of the 27 servers the Center uses, 19 are in a SUSE and Red Hat environment. The rest are running in a UNIX AIX environment and in a Microsoft environment (virtualized on Linux systems with VMWare).

  • Cuba preparing to quit Windows in favor of GNU/Linux.
    More than 3800 technicians have been already trained in the country, and Ciego de Ávila, located in the mid eastern part of the Island, is a good example of this. In that province, there are around 600 people taking intensive 4-month courses to learn about the use of Linux and replace the Windows operation system.

  • Linux, great scenery and great Italian food... all in one day!
    Sure, you'll say, but what this has to do with Linux? Well, the fact that and the Park of Renewable Energy (PeR) have teamed up to create a great package.

    Binario Etico is a trashware cooperative, which uses Free Software to save computers from the landfills. The PeR is a beautiful guesthouse built and managed with zero emission principles, serving meals prepared with locally produced organic foods.

  • Solve your own Linux problems
    We've been relatively quiet over the last few weeks, because we've been busy pulling together 60 issues of Linux Format magazine, converting all the reader questions and answers about Linux into web-friendly formats.

  • Desktop

    • SimplicITy – Linux for everyone!
      SimplicITy is offered in two different suites (€£435.99 & €£525.99 respectively), but what you have to consider is this is for a complete solution (no pondering over which version is most suitable). A new user buying a Windows PC for example is probably going to be presented with choices to make that they are relying on the salesperson to know whats best. Should they buy anti-virus software? Should they have support extended? Which version of Windows? As we all know with a proprietary platform theres always something else you can buy and always someone more than happy to sell it to you. SimplicITy aims to take all that away and present the user with a solution which is all in one, but more importantly, simple.

      Well known face Valerie Singleton is the host for “training” video’s which aim to teach those who are new.

    • Comparing windows and Linux installations
      I have this computer. It came with windows xp pre-installed. I formatted it and installed CentOS Linux for some tests. The computer was then needed for an employee so we put windows xp back on. This is a step by step comparison of installation of the two operating systems on the exact same hardware.


      Total time taken for windows? One day. Stress level reached? Out past Mars's orbit. Peace of mind installing Linux? Priceless.

    • Reviewed: Parallels Desktop 4 for Linux
      After conquering the desktop virtualisation space on the Mac, Parallels has decided to take the fight to VMware with a client for Windows and Linux desktops. But unlike the bi-polar world of the Mac (with Parallels and VMware being the only options), Parallels faces a multi-pronged attack on Linux, from proprietary brethren like VMware's Workstation, and free-to-download options such as Sun's VirtualBox.
    • Dell’s Zino HD is a Candy-Colored Mac Mini Killer
      All of the 8” x 8” boxes run on some kind of AMD Athlon Dual-Core processor and offer a choice of Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Ubuntu Linux. You can stuff in up to a terabyte of hard drive space, 8GB RAM and opt for a rewritable DVD drive or Blu-ray.

  • Kernel Space

    • Another Shot At The KMS Page-Flipping Ioctl
      This DRM ioctl patch touches about 400 lines of code (mostly the addition of new code) and is now hopefully ready to enter the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, which is great news for those using the X Server and also those wanting to experiment with Wayland but have been waiting for more of the work to land in mainline trees. The Linux 2.6.33 kernel will be the first release in 2010.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • The Perfect Desktop - Mandriva One 2010.0 With GNOME
      This tutorial shows how you can set up a Mandriva One 2010.0 desktop (with the GNOME desktop environment) that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

    • November 2009 Issue of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine Released
      The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Andrew Strick, Assistant Editor. The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons

    • Paranoia and criticism, how it was meant and how it is taken
      It's interesting to see how many people automatically associate criticism with "Anti-X distro".

      I have seen 'rational' Linux users who can say they like a distro, find pro's and con's about it, even if it's one of their favorites and move on along to the next topic.

    • Building The Ultimate KDE Desktop With Arch Linux (Part 2)
      Now, you should have an Arch Linux system that is fully functional. You can also install more applications if you want, and customize it even further. Next time, in the final chapter, it’s time to do some gaming!

    • Mandriva One 2010.0 (including Moblin UI)
      Mandriva 2010 includes the usual array of utilities, applications and packages. Firefox 3.5.5, OpenOffice 3.1.1, GIMP for grpahics, Amarok for audio and Dragon Player for video, and of course lots of KDE applications and applets. If a particular package that you want, need or prefer isn't installed, you can generally find it through "Install & Remove Software", as I did for things like Thunderbird.


      To summarize, Mandriva 2010 is, as expected, a worthy successor in their long line of distributions. It installs easily, it supports all of the hardware that I tried it on with ease, and it works well. Their Moblin desktop seems to work better than Moblin's own distribution, but that is rather thin praise. If you have been using Mandriva Linux previously, you are likely to be pleased with this one.

    • Build your own Linux distribution the easy way
      Many people want to create their own Linux distro, perhaps for fun, perhaps to help them learn more about Linux, or perhaps because they have serious neds to solve. But the secret is this: it doesn't need to be hard to get the perfect distro for you. In fact, we've put together several ways that everyone - yes, even you - can make your own perfectly customised distro that suits your individual needs, applying as many or as few changes as you want - it's your Linux, your way.

      Mainstream Linux distro developers have to make decisions that affect thousands of potential users. Should they include or remove a particular package? Should they apply a patch that may break compatibility with older machines? These matters are discussed fiercely in forums where trolls growl, flames burn and project leaders defend their decisions against an onslaught of dissidents.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to work with MySQL regardless of EU
        Red Hat Inc., the biggest seller of the Linux operating system, said it hopes to continue to work closely with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s MySQL database regardless of the outcome of a European Commission antitrust complaint.

    • Debian Family

      • Introducing Testdrive!
        I'm pleased to introduce a new package I have created for Ubuntu called testdrive!

        Testdrive makes it simple to run any Ubuntu release in a virtual machine, safely, and without affecting your current Ubuntu installation.

      • Arkeia Releases Free Network Backup Software for Ubuntu
        Providing Ubuntu server users with powerful, enterprise-ready network backup for free, fully licensed solution, network backup solutions provider Arkeia Software ( has released Arkeia Network Backup version 8 in the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS repository as a no-cost, small-network package exclusively for Ubuntu users.

      • Dual-Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu in Perfect Harmony

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedded Linux framework supports industrial Cortex-A8 SoCs
      Timesys announced LinuxLink support for two new Cortex A8-based processors from Texas Instruments (TI) that are based on OMAP35x SoCs, but aimed at the industrial market. The LinuxLink framework for embedded Linux development is now available for the Sitara AM3505 and AM3517 SoCs, which run at 500MHz while using less than one Watt.

    • Myka’s New Media Player Now Available
      The ION is based on Ubuntu 9.10 and carries a full software feature set. The system supports the much beloved Boxee, which acts as a web video aggregator. Boxee on the ION can be synced with other Boxee installations. XBMC is also featured for media management tasks, and the ION sports a beta version of Hulu Desktop.

    • Big Predictions, and a Hardware Announcement, From Boxee
      We've written about the Boxee media center application a number of times here on OStatic. One of the main differentiators between Boxee's open source media center platform and other similar applications is that Boxee is chock-full of social and sharing features. You can discuss shows and video clips and music with friends online--as you consume them. Boxee is also gaining more and more community-built plug-ins. Today, at the NewTeeVee Live event in San Francisco, Boxee CEO CEO Avner Ronen made a significant product introduction, and quite a few surprising predictions.

    • Boxee confirms set top box coming
      Boxee, the open source home entertainment system has announced that it will be launching its own set top box next year when the service goes into public beta.

      Currently available on the PC and Mac, as well as the Apple TV (before Apple's latest 3.0 update), the company has confirmed that it has "signed our first partnership with a CE company".

    • Boxee Box in the works
      The Boxee Box in currently being developed and prepared for commercial release after the launch of the public alpha for Mac/Linux in January at CES earlier this year.
    • Surveillance DVR runs Linux
      Lanner Electronics is shipping an entry-level, Linux-compatible DVR for the surveillance market that records NTSC and PAL video using H.264. The VR-1208 offers a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB ports, and dual 3.5-inch storage bays, and supports eight channels of D1 analog video.

    • Chumby

      • Chumby Product Line Expands by One
        As I just got done saying a couple days ago, we here at OStatic love our chumbys. The always-on wireless device is as cute as it is handy, keeping you connected to all your favorite Web sites like Flickr,, and Twitter. The chumby is fully hackable, from its open source software to its leather-and-plastic housing. Now, the chumby has a little sister fresh on the shelves -- the chumby One.

      • Widget-enabled Internet radio gets faster, cheaper
        Chumby Industries is readying an updated version of its Linux-based "Chumby" web-connected clock radio. Like the original, the "Chumby One" streams a personalized broadcast of web content over WiFi, and it offers a much lower price, a faster processor, far more flash memory, an FM radio, and a battery option.

    • Phones

      • Reportlinker Adds Mobile Open Source Operating Systems Markets & Opportunities 2009-2014
        This report compares and evaluates the value of the three consortiums: Symbian foundation, LiMo foundation and Open handset alliance (android) analysing the business models for both proprietary and open source.

      • N900 to launch on Vodafone in November
        The anticipated Linux based device is due to hit the shops in November with Vodafone as candidate to sell it in the UK.

      • XPERIA X10 Supports Developers
        To begin with, the Android operating system being used in the X10 is a product of Linux development which has its roots in open source technology. For those unfamiliar with programming, the concept of open source is like a fast food chain releasing its fried chicken recipe in order for everyone to try it, modify and ultimately improve it. This will mean that the money earning recipe will be made open to all but at the same time, this potentially creates vast improvements over the original recipe.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Litl Webbook: A Sexy Internet Computer for the Home
        Litl's operating system is rooted in open source -- Ubuntu, to be exact -- but its uniqueness lies in the sleek design. When not being used as a laptop, users can prop it up like an easel then set it to display photos or stream content from and other popular Web sites.

      • Qualcomm unveils Lenovo smartbook, new Scorpion chipset
        At Qualcomm's annual analyst meeting today, the company demonstrated a Linux- and Qualcomm Snapdragon-based "smartbook" from Lenovo, say reports. Qualcomm also announced a new 1GHz MSM7x30 smartphone chipset family which incorporates the same superscalar Scorpion CPU technology as the Snapdragon, and is capable of 720p video at 30fps, says Qualcomm.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source firm looks to capitalise on mobile growth
    Scott Schwarzhoff, the company's vice-president of marketing, said developers could use Titanium to write once in Javascript, HTML, and CSS and publish an application for either the iPhone or Android devices. Support for the Blackberry and Palm Pre is on the way.

    He said the underlying technology used "a combination of Webkit (the browser rendering engine for Safari) for presenting web information and native code (Objective-C for iPhone, Java for Android) for hooking into native functionality on mobile devices, like the camera, geo-location, filesystem, etc."

  • Proteus Open Source Now
    We, the developers of the Proteus Intelligent Processes (PIP) Project, are pleased to announce the availability of source code for tools related to the clinical decision support guidelines model, Proteus under an open source license (EPL). The open source development effort will now proceed in the PIP project.

  • Community Council Elections: Use your invitation to vote!
    3 seats on the Community Council are to be taken by community members to represent their constituency. After the nomination and introduction period now the 3 elections are open.

  • FOSS' Sunny Place in the Cloud
    "FLOSS clouds can be built -- there is no reason FLOSS cannot do well in the cloud," Pogson told LinuxInsider.

    "We already have Apache and PHP scripts. Many other services and architectures can be built in the cloud," he noted.

  • ]project-open[, a provider of Open-Source Project Management software, announces the release of Version 3.4 of ]po[
    ]project-open[ announces the release of version V3.4 of its Open-Source (OSS) web-based Project and Service Management application. V3.4 is the first release in 18 months and includes a large number of improvements and enhancements. Amongst others, it features new service management modules, an updated GUI, localization into 10 languages and an online context help system.

  • Open source software needs marketing
    There is a need for greater promotion of the use of open source software for information and communication technology (ICT)-based teaching and learning.

    Professor Kannan M Moudgalya of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), highlighted this on Monday. Moudgalya, who heads the Centre for Distance Engineering Education Programme (CDEEP) at the IIT, was delivering the keynote address at the launch of kPoint, a software solution for interactive learning and training.

  • Healthcare

  • Events

    • Sun Showcases Open Source Technologies
      Two universities--one in New York City and the other in Switzerland--are adopting Sun Microsystems technologies. Columbia University will use an open source Sun solution to manage storage of assets in its digital preservation project, and the University of Zurich is deploying Project Wonderland projects as part of a global e-learning initiative.

    • FLOSS in health care track at Med-e-Tel 2010, 14-16 April, Luxembourg
      The 8th annual Med-e-Tel conference (14-16 April 2010) will include a track that is dedicated specifically to Free/Libre Open Source Software in Health Care (FLOSS-HC).

  • Business

    • Open Source vs Commercial BI
      I've been collaborating with open source and BI experts Jos van Dongen and Mark Madsen in this process. Jos is the founder of Tholis Consulting in the Netherlands and co-author of the recently published book Pentaho Solutions. Mark is the founder of Third Nature and a fellow instructor at TDWI.

      One of the challenging aspects in evaluating open source is in assessing what is in the free community editions versus in the premium, supported editions. So while many associate open source with "free," how free it is really depends upon which project you are talking about. Pentaho seems to make more for free than JasperSoft and Actuate, for example.

    • Migrating to an open source solution
      A $200 million group and an ISO 9001:2000 company, Sheela Foam is the largest manufacturer of flexible Polyurethane Foam (PU) in India. The company ranks among the top five PU foam manufacturing companies in the Asia-Pacific region. In India, the firm has many manufacturing units, supported through a distribution network of over 70 distributors and 3,000 dealers.


      After evaluating a host of options, Sheela Foam consulted Red Hat Enterprise Linux partner Keen & Able Computers. Convinced about the value offered, the company decided to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on an Intel Xeon processor-based Dell PowerEdge server. The preloaded Dell 2950 PowerEdge server and the thoroughness of the implementation team made the migration and installation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) quick and easy. The system was ready to be tested and could be deployed immediately.

  • Programming

    • Google's Go: an open-source language
      Indeed, the speed is likely to be the biggest attraction for many: a video introduction to the system demonstrates around a thousand lines of Go code compiling in around two hundred milliseconds on an average desktop machine - making testing out changes a lot less painful than with a traditional compiled language.


  • MPs want hacker transfer halted
    The extradition to the US of computer hacker Gary McKinnon should be halted owing to his "precarious state of mental health", MPs say.

  • Northwestern students paid witnesses, prosecutors allege
    Professor denies 2 men received money in effort to prove convicted killer is innocent

  • CIO Blast from the Past: 40 years of Multics, 1969-2009
    Multics pioneered hierarchical file systems, file access controls, and dynamic linking on demand

  • Finance

    • "Golden Throne" Award Presented to Scott Talbott of the Financial Services Roundtable
      Scott Talbott is a top lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable. The Roundtable lobbies on behalf of 100 of the top banks, credit card companies, insurance and securities firms operating in the United States. Its membership includes many bailed-out banks including: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and PNC.

    • Virtuous Bankers? Really!?!
      The saying used to be, whatever happens, the lawyers win. But with bankers getting obscene bonuses again, now it’s whatever happens, the bankers win.

    • Goldman Sachs, Big Swinging Bank, Rejects TBTF Label
      Set aside for a moment that even the head of the biggest, baddest investment bank in the world, in the heat of doing “God’s work,” is at a loss over how Goldman works. The operative word in “too big to fail” is big (as evident in Michael Lewis’s famous coinage).

      Complex and small is OK. Complex and big is dangerous, as we learned when taxpayers had to funnel $14 billion to Goldman by way of AIG to cover the bank’s potential losses on credit default swaps.

    • Over $1 Trillion In Excess Reserves? Not A Problem According To Goldman Sachs
      As we pointed out recently, excess reserves at banking institutions have hit yet another all time record over $1 trillion, courtesy not just of the Fed's burgeoning reliquification efforts via direct asset purchases, but also due to its strategy to wind down the SFP program, and keep the Federal debt level under the legal cap, thereby providing even more liquidity to banks, to the tune of$185 billion. Yet if you thought that this inability to pass liquidity over into the broader currency pool was something to be concerned about (you know, that whole lending to consumers thing), you were wrong. Or so claims Goldman Sachs in this extended expose on why central planning is in fact good for Communist America. Also, for anyone who still doesn't understand how modern Fed-subsidized cash hoarding works, this primer should explain it all.

    • Shellshocked Goldman Sachs Bankers Have Just Stopped Reading The News
      I thought about telling her that this was like a child closing her eyes so that the monster wouldn't get her. The tactic would never work but there is no monster so it doesn't matter. But then I saw the way she was looking at me, at the bar, at her drink, and I thought she didn't need any lessons about life tonight. She just needed a drink.

    • Gasparino gets tough with Goldman Sachs
      So how is the great Goldman Sachs (GS) charm offensive going? Among the latest to weigh in is none other than Charles Gasparino on the Huffington Post. It's fair to say that he smells BS when Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein suggests that the bank really didn't need the TARP infusion and that the AIG (AIG) bailout didn't really help Goldman survive.

    • Goldman Sachs On the Trillion Dollars in Excess Reserves

    • Goldman Sachs’s not very charitable foundation
      Geraldine Fabrikant gets her hands on the 2008 tax filing for the Goldman Sachs Foundation today, and it’s pretty astonishing stuff:

      The latest tax filing for Goldman Sachs’s foundation is as thick as a phone book. The list of trades is more than 200 pages, single spaced. Goldman, it seems, invests like no other, even for its own charity.

      “I have never seen anything like it,” said Verne O. Sedlacek, president of Commonfund, when shown the 2007 filing, which was nearly three inches thick. He has a good overview from the Commonfund, which manages more than $25 billion for universities, foundations and other not-for-profit groups.

      What good does all this extreme trading do? Not very much, it would seem, according to Fabrikant’s numbers:

      * Goldman has given $501 million to the Goldman Sachs Foundation since 1999 * The present size of the foundation is $404 million * The foundation gave away $12.6 million in 2007 and $22 million in 2008.

    • Today in Goldman Sachs
      Good news (but could be better): The Times managed to get its hands on the tax filings for Goldman Sachs Foundation today. (We reported on the previous year's charitable donations a couple of weeks ago, as you may recall.) According to the filing (which "is as thick as a phone book"), the firm has set aside another $200 million to give away to charity and the foundation now has a total of $404 million in assets. Unfortunately, it isn't giving much of it away. (It doled out $12 million in 2007 and another $22 million in 2008.) And it's still a drop in the bucket compared to what the bank will be paying out in bonuses: "[T]he money allotted for its foundation is dwarfed by the sums that will be doled out to its bankers. In the first nine months of this year, the firm set aside about $17 billion for bonuses and other compensation."

  • AstroTurf

    • Tobacco industry's onslaught on Asia
      While almost all of Asia has ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and is moving to implement the WHO treaty FCTC, the global tobacco industry is intensifying is grip on Asia.

      Tabinfo Asia 2009, a tobacco convention, is calling itself 'one of the most important events held in one of the world's most important tobacco regions. Tab Info is not open to the public health community. However, it will address topics that are of grave concern to public health. This is our interpretation of what the programme will address:

    • Ian Plimer's Mining Connections
      Since the publication in May of his book, ''Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science,'' Ian Plimer has been the darling of conservative media commentators and the global network of climate change skeptics. Plimer, an Australian geologist, has been strongly criticized by climate scientists for errors in his book. More recently, he has been in the news over his challenge to British journalist, George Monbiot, for a debate over climate science. Monbiot agreed, subject to Plimer answering some questions in writing ahead of a debate, but Plimer retreated.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Romance Publishing Giant Offering Ebooks Without DRM; Reporter Upset By This
      That, by itself, isn't a huge surprise these days, but the article does note that the publisher decided to go without DRM on the books. Now, that seems like a smart, consumer-friendly move that should be applauded.

    • Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Teaches Wrong Lesson On Freedom Of The Press
      You would think that a Supreme Court Justice (and the people who work for one) would know better than to tell any sort of news publication -- even a high school newspaper -- that he needed to approve any articles written about a speech he gave, but that appears to be exactly what happened with Justice Anthony Kennedy and a recent speech to Dalton High School students in Manhattan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Porsche vs. Crocs…
      But this one we’re giving away: in the 10-Q that footnoted frequent flyer Crocs (CROX) filed last week, there was an interesting new disclosure about Porsche, the German car-maker, suing Crocs, the Colorado-based shoe manufacturer over the use of the name Cayman.

    • Google Doesn't Rely On Intellectual Property For Its Leadership Position
      And that -- right there -- is the key point we keep trying to make around here. You don't need to rely on intellectual property. And, if you do, you are opening yourself up wide to competition that doesn't rely on IP and innovates in a way that simply cuts your legs out from under you. Yet... we'll still hear stories for years about how all of Google's billions are because of its intellectual property, even as it gives away more and more of it each and every day.

    • Free Doesn't Mean Devalued
      More importantly, songwriters who get hung up on "devaluation" confuse recordings with music. They equate the two. A recording is not the song, it's just an instance of it, and a digital audio file is just an instance of the recording.

Interview with Mathieu Desnoyers of École Polytechnique de Montréal

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