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Links 29/11/2009: New Linux Mint Released



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Exactly Why We Are No Longer UNIX-ish
    We didn't have to jump on with X11, where bloat and complexity are present for no apparent reason whatsoever, and where nasty hacks have resulted in even more complexity. We didn't have to jump on with KDE where a lack of extensibility, parsimony, clarity, modularity, simplicity, and repair lead to the need for a rewrite from the ground up, and left many of us hating the new version. We didn't have to jump on with GNOME or XFCE that are facing similar growing pains. We didn't have to sign on with any of this, but we did. We are now paying the price as our systems get heavier and heavier, and like the guys on the other side of the fence (Windows and such), we are going to start upgrading our systems just because our OS demands a better machine.


  • Differences Between Linux And Windows
    The Linux Kernel is an operating system, which runs on a wide variety of hardware and for a variety of purposes. Linux is capable of running on devices as simple as a wrist watch, or a cell phone, but it can also run on a home computer using, for example Intel, or AMD processors, and its even capable of running on high end servers using Sun Sparc CPU’s or IBM power PC processors. Some Linux distro’s can only run one processor, while others can run many at once.

    [...]

    In conclusion we will conclude that the Linux OS really is the superior software. Other than a few minor nuisances, linux out performs Windows in most categories. The fact that Linux is more secure is the tipping point, that tilts the scales in the favor of Linux. Windows simply suffers from far to many security vulnerabilities for it to be considered the better over all desktop environment.


  • Virtual computers in a virtual world.
    Even better is that while you are evaluating this new and exiting version of, say, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or Arch Linux, your existing operating system is also active and can be used at the same time. Providing you have enough memory and CPU power you can have more than one virtual machine running concurrently. On my pretty standard (sub standard by today's standards) of an AMD 5200+ CPU and 2Gb ram I have had three virtual machines running side by side as well as my, at that time, Debian operating system serving web pages and managing email. With a good virtual machine program, I use virtualBox myself, you are only limited by the amount of hard disk space and ram on your beast box.


  • Remix Linux: how to customise your install
    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?




  • Literature

    • FREE online editon of Linux+ magazine
      Linux+ is going to release FREE online editon of their magazine. There will be 6 monthly issues with 60 pages each available for free download. They are looking for your support!


    • Must have Linux books for Christmas
      The gift giving season is right around the corner and if you have any geeky relatives or friends, then this list of Linux books to buy for Christmas is a good reference.






  • Google

    • Does Chrome OS mean anything for schools?
      Google representatives have already made it clear that they are hard at work enabling HTML-5 features in Google Apps and plan to significantly improve the richness and fidelity of their core Apps products within the next year. But we won’t need Chrome OS to access any of these new features. We just need to use a modern browser and be willing to trust in the cloud.








  • Kernel Space

    • Plymouth Gets Tighter Integration With GDM, X
      For about two years now Red Hat has been working on the Plymouth project to replace RHGB with this graphical boot program that leverages kernel mode-setting and other newer Linux innovations to provide a clean, flicker-free boot experience. Over the course of the past few Fedora releases, Plymouth has continued to pickup new features and is also now being used by Mandriva. While Plymouth already does a great job at mode-setting to the display's native resolution and then showing the selected Plymouth plug-in and then to switch over to GNOME's GDM quite smoothly as the X.Org Server starts up, this process is getting even smoother now.








  • Applications







  • KDE

    • Device automounting in KDE 4.4


    • KDE Community and Apliki Cooperate on Understandable Icons
      It is good to see the KDE community engage in cooperative relationships with parties outside the community, seeking mutual benefit. We welcome collaboration for any individual or organization which believes in improving the quality of our software and helps us realize our goal of getting the best Free Software anywhere!


    • Second KOffice Developer Sprint 2009 Kickoff
      In Oslo, Norway, the second KOffice developer sprint this year has started. The KOffice developers must be getting used to seeing each other regularly - besides the two sprints there were many other meetings and events with a handful of KOffice developers present. However, their 'own' sprints still are special - dedicated to some team building, designing and hard work in a cooperative and positive atmosphere.








  • Distributions



    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint 8 “Helena” released!
        The 8th release of Linux Mint comes with numerous bug fixes and a lot of improvements. In particular Linux Mint 8 comes with support for OEM installs, a brand new Upload Manager, the menu now allows you to configure custom places, the update manager now lets you define packages for which you don’t want to receive updates,the software manager now features multiple installation/removal of software and many of the tools’ graphical interfaces were enhanced.


      • Linux Mint 8 Helena Screenshots
        Linux Mint 8 “Helena” is based on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” and it features the latest versions on many applications. Linux 2.6.31, Gnome 2.28 and Xorg 7.4 are all included in Linux Mint 8 along with significant changes to the menu, software manager, update manager, and a brand new upload manager. As has been the case in recent releases, the Linux Mint artwork has been adjusted to give the Gnome 2.28 desktop a beautiful look. What’s your favorite feature of Linux Mint 8?


      • Ubuntu-Based Greenie 6k Screenshots
        The Greenie Linux 6k CD is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that is focused on Slovak and Czech users but supports English and many other languages as well. In October I wrote a Greenie 5j review and was impressed with the distribution. The most recent version has a nice set of current applications such as Linux Kernel 2.6.31, GNOME 2.28, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Firefox 3.5, and WINE 1.1.33.


      • Review – Crunch Bang Linux
        Test setup – Fujitsu Siemens C1020, 256mb of RAM, 1GB RAM, 20GB HDD, Intel Pentium 4 1.8ghz CPU, 32mb Graphics Card

        Crunch Bang Linux (also known as #! Linux) is a lightweight distribution aimed at older, underpowered hardware. It is based off the Ubuntu 9.04 Minimal CD and the OpenBox windowing system.


      • [Full Circle Magazine] Issue 31


      • Ubuntizing People!!
        In conclusion… Ubuntu ROCKS!! I’m very amazed that he did pretty much everything he needed without any help and that he loves it. He is just happy that he does not have the same problems he has with windows in the same time frame. Anyways, I guess that this is all thanks to the developers who put so much effort in the Upstream Projects, and to all of those who make Ubuntu Rock!!


      • Roll Your Own Ubuntu Private Cloud
        Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, or UEC for short, lets you create your own cloud computing infrastructure with nothing more than whatever commodity hardware you've got that already runs Ubuntu Server. It's an implementation of the Eucalyptus cloud-computing architecture, which is interface-compatible with Amazon's own cloud system, but could, in theory, support interfaces for any number of cloud providers. Since Amazon's APIs and cloud systems are broadly used and familiar to most people who've done work with the cloud, it makes sense to start by offering what people already know.


      • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04LTS – Landmark release?
        Ubuntu One continues to go from strength to strength. I have been using it since the beta test invite and can see that being another decent revenue stream for Canonical who appear to have been delivering an out of the box platform for many years with little reward.

        Of course with every Ubuntu release comes the promise of faster boot-times, so we are not disappointed when we hear that 10.04 is aiming for a 10 second boot up and in addition to the faster boot times, you can guarantee that the calls surrounding “the ugly brown theme” will start up again!


      • Taking the Ubuntu gospel to the Anime nation
        People all over the world use computers for many different reasons. Yet, often Linux evangelists focus on those who already have a technical bent through initiatives such as software freedom day. The Ubuntu community in Massachusetts decided its time to reach out to a new crowd.












Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle & Sun & the European Single Market
    A lot of people have been busy commenting on the EU's investigation into the competitive dynamics of Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun, so I thought I'd join in.


  • Sixth Sense Technology
    Here something for all of you techie tinkerers to try when its released. In a presentation by Pranav Mistry on "several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data", Mistry says he'll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all. I expect we'll see some of these ideas interfaced with Blender in the future, we've already had others such as Wiimotes by Thomas Eldredge


  • 6 of the Best Free Linux Data Warehouse Software
    A data warehouse is a repository of an organization's electronically stored data. Data warehouses are designed to facilitate reporting and analysis.


  • When Open Source Meets Closed Minds
    Caller: “I need to report a very serious computer crime! The local university is running an illegal computer system!”

    Me: “Could you please repeat that?”

    Caller: “The local university is running an illegal computer system! They’ve hacked it!”

    Me: “How could you tell they’d hacked it?”

    Caller: “Well, when it booted, it didn’t say Windows or Microsoft or anything! It said something about Deviant Linux, I think, and the main screen looked nothing like my good, legal Windows screen at home! I think they hacked that, too!”




  • Events

    • Brucon 2009: Open Source Information Gathering 2/4
      This talk is about using the current open source tools to generate a detailed target footprint for a blackbox penetration test. Suppose for our penetration test we are given nothing but a domain name.


    • RTEMS Workout at FOSS.IN 2009
      If you are enthusiastic about Free and Open Source Software and you are anywhere near Bangalore (even if you are not, there is nothing stopping to be near Bangalore during this time), make sure you head to FOSS.IN 2009. FOSS.IN is the first conference for Open Source that I attended back in 2005 and was impressed. Since then I have attended all FOSS.INs except the 2006 (away from the country on an official trip).

      If you are enthusiastic about Free and Open Source Software and you are anywhere near Bangalore (even if you are not, there is nothing stopping to be near Bangalore during this time), make sure you head to FOSS.IN 2009. FOSS.IN is the first conference for Open Source that I attended back in 2005 and was impressed. Since then I have attended all FOSS.INs except the 2006 (away from the country on an official trip).






  • Mozilla

    • New Firefox 3.6 Beta Enables Local File Handling
      Earlier this morning, Mozilla released the fourth beta version of Firefox 3.6. Besides over 140 bug fixes, the new beta also introduces support for HTML5's local file handling API. This feature gives web apps the ability to access and handle local files selected by the user. A photo site that implements this feature can now work with images locally, for example. You don't have to upload your images to the site - instead, the web app can just manipulate the photo through the browser locally and an upload is only necessary if you want to store the image remotely.


    • Finally Some Good Use For The Firefox Home Button
      The home button in the Firefox web browser – and actually in every web browser – opens the default homepage of the web browser when it is clicked. Most users do not need that functionality because of better alternatives that are provided by the browsers. It is for example possible to add the homepage to the visible bookmarks, use a keyboard shortcut to open that website or to enter part of it in the address bar.

      The developer of Usable Home Button for Firefox must have had similar thoughts. The add-on changes the standard behavior of the home button in Firefox so that it always leads to the root level of the active website. This can be quite handy as it is not always a given that a webmaster has included a link back to the root page of the website on the website.








  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • RMS: An American Free Software Advocate
      In 1983 Stallman wanted to create a free Unix-like operating system so he launched the GNU Project and set up the Free Software Foundation just a couple years later. “The name “GNU” was chosen because it met a few requirements; “first, it was a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix”, second, because it was a real word, and third, it was fun to say” (FSF).

      Stallman also pioneered the concept of copyleft which is a legal mechanism to protect the modification and redistribution rights for free software. He is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license. “The Foundations of the GPL states that nobody should be restricted by the software they use. There are four freedoms that every user should have:

      * the freedom to use the software for any purpose, * the freedom to change the software to suit your needs, * the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and * the freedom to share the changes you make” (FSF).








  • Government







  • Openness

    • Outrageous. Incredible. International expert was spoken word only even within OS
      So here’s what happens. You have a report. You happen to bump into an old mate. “Hey, want to read my report?” you say. “Sure,” they say. They read it. “Seems OK,” they say. You go back to your office and tell people “I met X who says it’s fine.” Even though the report is a thrown-together farrago of disconnected information about various national mapping agencies and their charging methods, combined with an unrelated chunk of poorly displayed data about national GDP versus national R&D expenditure, which cannot by any reasonable measure be claimed to justify anything about any charging model.

      This then becomes “The document was also reviewed by an internationally recognised expert in Geographical Information and National Mapping who agreed with the analysis and conclusions.”


    • We deserve better commodity information


    • Distripedia
      Announcing Distripedia!

      A first crack at a distributed, crowd sourced and perhaps crowd funded encyclopedia. (I had to get in a buzz word or two but they are not offtopic.)


    • Openness as the Foundation for Global Change
      In other words, openness lies at the heart of this work, and that's probably the most exciting thing for me about this whole venture, however modest its current scale: it is taking the ideas that lie behind open source and open standards, and applying them in real-life situations to make a real difference to people's lives, and that's hugely important. Let's hope that Tim Berners-Lee's latest project is ultimately as successful as his more famous one.


    • Which works fall into the public domain in 2010?
      You can find the list of 563 authors on our Public Domain Works project, which is a simple registry of artistic works that are in the public domain:

      * http://www.publicdomainworks.net/stats/year/2010

      The list can be sorted by author surname, birth date, death date and number of works by clicking on the relevant headings. Notable authors include the poets William Butler Yeats and Osip Mandelstam, as well as the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud








  • Google

    • Reducing HTTP latency with SPDY
      Google unveiled an experimental open source project in early November aimed at reducing web site load times. SPDY, as it is called, is a modification to HTTP designed to target specific, real-world latency issues without altering GET, POST, or any other request semantics, and without requiring changes to page content or network infrastructure. It does this by implementing request prioritization, stream multiplexing, and header compression. Results from tests on a SPDY-enabled Chrome and a SPDY web server show a reduction in load times of up to 60%.


    • The Apertium Project's First Google Summer of Code
      The Apertium Project works on open-source machine translation and language technology. We try to focus our efforts on lesser-resourced and marginalized languages, but also work with larger languages. To date, we have released translators for 21 language pairs, covering languages spoken by 1.1 billion people, ranging from English (est. 500m speakers) to Aranese (est. 4,000 speakers). A similar number of additional language pairs are in development. The Apertium software is licensed under the GPL, but in addition (a rarer situation in the machine translation field) so is the data for all these language pairs. This means that the data can be re-used by other language projects (e.g. in developing spelling or grammar checkers, thesauri, etc).


    • Google Eliminates Gizmo5 Client For Linux
      "Evidence on the Gizmo5 forum (login required) confirms that since Google's takeover of Gizmo5, only the Windows, Mac, and iPhone clients are available for download from the official Web page. The Linux download link no longer works. This is a potential problem for happy Linux users with paid-up credit in their Gizmo5 accounts if they need to reinstall the software. A back-door download is still available, although it is speculated on the forums that it will go away soon. Does this mean that (as with other Google projects such as Google Talk) Linux will be the poor relation for Google Voice also?"






Leftovers

  • Time to Abolish the Olympics?
    Now, there are two explanations for this. One, is that free speech no longer exists in Canada, which is news to me. I can't imagine even the most zealous border official was really trying *in principle* to restrict Ms Goodman's general right to talk about anything.

    The other possibility, seems much more likely: that this was another epiphenomenon of the Olympic trademark insanity, whereby ordinary words are suddenly forbidden to lesser mortals - unless they pay.


  • Do we have a government IT “fat cats” issue?
    One of Gordon Brown’s favoured efficiency czars muttered to me once over breakfast that what Whitehall called CIOs were, as a rule, merely overpaid IT project managers. Seems a bit harsh: surely these people sit on the Board, and are in a position to make services vastly better and contribute immense savings?




  • Environment

    • Oil and the story of energy
      You will see from the Wikipedia article, that one method of controlling consumption of the resource is a tax to try to ensure that the price and therefore the demand for the resource, remains roughly the same. As I understand it, this is what the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is attempting to do. It will force universities to become more energy efficient in order to lower our emissions. Rather than then use those efficiencies to purchase more emissions producing resources, which is what we normally do, the fines and reputational incentive will force us to keep making year on year savings of carbon emissions.

      [...]

      The purpose of this post, however, was to provide an overview of energy and oil as a reference for moving on to think more about a ‘resilient education’. My interests are in the institutional and organisational effects this might have, particularly relating to our dependence on technology to operate Higher Education Institutions and deliver teaching and research. Another important area to consider is how to develop resilient citizens, as Richard has begun to do. Since its discovery, oil has changed the way we live. It has changed the fabric of society, the institutions we have created, our expectations of the future and our ambitions for ourselves. As the availability of oil changes, so will our institutions and our communities. My interest is the impact to and role of education within this environment of change. My specific interest is the role and value of technology (in whatever forms) to teach and learn in this environment of change.


    • Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research
      Some prominent climate scientists are calling for changes in the way research on global warming is conducted after a British university said thousands of private e-mail messages and documents had been stolen from its climate center.








  • Finance

    • Dubai's Debt Troubles: Beginning of the Next Leg Down?
      The Dubai situation is complicated, which is part of the reason why the restructuring of Dubai World's debt took the world by surprise. Dubai World, the conglomerate behind a huge number of commercial and residential buildings, is the one whose debt is being restructured. The amount of the restructured debt for Dubai World is only about $60 billion, so by itself, is insignificant compared to the size of the world economy. The government of Dubai backs the Dubai World debt. If one includes the government of Dubai, total debts are about $80 billion, which is still not a huge amount compared to world assets.


    • Goldman's secret moral pathology
      11. When bankruptcy threatens, bribe friends in 'Happy Conspiracy'

      Barron's: While Geithner was "showcasing what a great investment Washington made in Goldman, the 23% return on the $5 billion of the taxpayers money, Warren Buffett's deal made him a fabulous 120% return. Goldman's stock ran up to $180 from $115, a gain of $2.8 billion. Add 8% discount on warrants, another $3.2 billion to him."








  • AstroTurf

    • Lessons in Legislative Manipulation From the Tobacco Industry
      Corporations will continue to wrest control of our country's legislative processes away from the people and co-opt it for themselves, but we out number them. It's time to join together to ensure, as Abraham Lincoln so memorably said in his 1863 Gettysburg Address, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."


    • Obama Pushes Lobbyists Off Federal Advisory Boards
      In a little-noticed blog post published on the White House website in September, President Obama's special counsel for ethics and government reform Norm Eisen announced that the administration no longer wanted federally-registered lobbyists appointed to agency advisory boards and commissions.








  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • SWIFT - EU to grant USA nearly unlimited access to all EU banking data
      It’s everything about SWIFT, a company that handles the bank transactions for thousands of bank, inluding most European banks. SWIFT is based in Belgium but has also a branch in the USA. Under the TFTP programme the US government forced the US branch (which mirrors all data based in Belgium) to allow government access to all these bank transactions in order to help anti-terrorism operations.








  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Dear Mandy: complaining to Peter Mandelson through the power of song
      What's a good way to get politicians to listen to your point of view? Writing letters? Signing petitions? Inviting them over for dinner in your holiday villa in Greece?

      Or, if none of that works - for example, if you don't have a villa in Greece - you could try singing a song at them.

      That's the approach Dan Bull has taken, with a musical letter to Lord Mandelson politely suggesting that he might like to reconsider his proposals to cut off the internet of households if they are accused of filesharing.


    • Day 22: Film studios issue ultimatum to ISPs
      Internet service providers that shirked responsibilities to prevent copyright infringement on their networks should consider exiting the business, the Federal Court heard today.

      As the copyright case between the film industry and ISP iiNet approached its conclusion, the studio's barrister Tony Bannon SC suggested ISPs that did not want to deal with infringement notices should "get out of the business."


    • Pub 'fined €£8k' for Wi-Fi copyright infringement
      A pub owner has been fined €£8,000 because someone unlawfully downloaded copyrighted material over their open Wi-Fi hotspot, according to the managing director of hotspot provider The Cloud.


    • What the Queen didn't say
      The Queen's speech was notable not so much for the new announcements in it, but for the things it didn't include. Her Majesty did not say that her government would disconnect it's citizen's internet connections, or introduce a €£50,000 fine for infringing the copyright of a file that cost €£0.00 to reproduce, or that it would give harsher penalties for downloading a file for free than for buying the exact same information on a counterfeit disc.

      But don't be fooled. This isn't a sudden outbreak of common sense, all those ill-considered provisions are still there, but for some reason the government forgot to tell the public about them in the Queen's speech.










Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 05 (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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