Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 13/12/2009: More IBM Servers, DRBD in Linux

GNOME bluefish



  • Pogson’s Predictions for 2010
    # GNU/Linux. Enough businesses selling GNU/Linux are losing enough money because M$ is campaigning against GNU/Linux that this is feasible. For example, when M$ provides training materials for retailers’ staff putting down GNU/Linux and denying a market for OEMs selling GNU/Linux, this is grounds for an anti-trust case. Same goes for prohibiting benchmarking, selling same hardware with GNU/Linux and M$’s stuff, and revealing the cost of the OS.

    # Several large US governments will convert to GNU/Linux thin clients in 2010. It just makes sense. The USA has supported M$ further than there is any duty or economic interest. Arguments of protecting US jobs ring hollow in the face of cointinually rising costs for malware, downtime, patching, etc. Taxpayers should have a say, too. They are tired of tax dollars flowing down the licensing funnel to M$. Munich may never pay another volume licence to M$. Why should NYC or LA?

  • China Firms Defend Tech-Purchase Rules
    Some Chinese tech executives say their government isn't doing enough to protect them. "I hope China will do more ... to make the competition more fair," says Fan Hongguang, product manager for Red Flag Software Co., a Beijing company that produces a Linux-based operating system that competes with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software.

    Linux technology was developed by programmers around the world, raising questions about whether Red Flag's product qualifies as "indigenous innovation." But Mr. Fan says Red Flag has already applied for accreditation for its products under the new rules, and that he's not worried. "I trust that [Linux's international origins] will not interfere" with the applications, he said.

  • Many benefit from Linux without knowing
    I 've talked to a lot of people who are just not ready or willing to make the move to Linux. They are happy to live with Windows, and, of course, enjoy the world's largest software support library.

    What might surprise you, however, is that you're probably using Linux in one way or another, and just don't know it. For example, I just purchased a new Samsung LCD TV. One of the things that I find attractive is the set's ability to view JPEG files (photographs), movies and even web pages without the need for a computer. I was caught off guard by the TV's sophisticated menus and graphics (even built-in recipes). And I was surprised that so much technology is packed into a device essentially considered as single purpose.

  • Red Hat heads back to the desktop with SPICE
    Red Hat is the number one Linux company, but they haven't been interested in the Linux desktop for years. With the open-sourcing of SPICE (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment), that's changing.

  • Server

    • IBM opens new cloud lab while Microsoft reorgs
      IBM is continuing its investment in cloud computing with a new lab in Hong Kong, expanding the presence of its IBM China Development Laboratory (CDL), the company's largest with more than 5,000 developers on staff.


      My blogging colleague, James Urquhart, wrote this week about Microsoft's new business unit that merges its cloud and on-premise server group into one development team, which makes sense, at least in theory.

      Practically speaking, Microsoft is way behind the curve and has a lot of ground to make. I've written in the past that the opportunity is theirs to lose, and it's hard to see how they plan to win, even with this new structure.

    • IBM: LotusLive paying subscribers go from 0 to 18 million in a year
      IBM has 18 million paying client seats for its LotusLive cloud services, a jump that will result in a few double takes among IT industry watchers.

    • Windows and Red Hat pricing on Amazon EC2 vs. on-premise
      * Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition: $2,999 * Red Hat Enterprise Linux Basic Subscription for 1 year: $349 * Windows price premium: 759 percent

  • Google

    • Chrome: The new colour of OS
      There is a new kid in the Operating System (OS) block. The source code of Chromium OS, the open source project behind Google Chrome OS, was released a couple of weeks ago and, according to the official Google blog, netbooks preloaded with the finished OS will be available by late 2010.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Personal Financial Management Software for Linux - Continued
      During the past week I was able to look at a few more candidates in the Personal Financial Management area, and to gain some experience with the one that I have decided to use for now. Please keep in mind that what I am presenting here is intended only to give you an idea of what is available, with a very brief overview of each package, and give you a link that you can follow if you want to investigage further or try one of them yourself.


      So, that's all the alternatives I'm going to be looking at for now. For my own use, I have decided to continue with KMyMoney. I have been using it, entering my accounts...

  • Distributions

    • REVIEW – xPUD 0.9.2
      Compared to other browser based distros that Ive covered here, xPUD is extremely polished. The menu that greets you is clean, attractive and simple. Even the most IT challenged would have no difficulty in getting to grips with it in a very short space of time. Hardware was recognised without issue and the bootup shutdown times are without doubt the fastest Ive seen in a distro to date.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Digital Gear: Android Tablets Charge Ahead
        Sony has a rich history in developing entertainment devices, and the company's upcoming Xperia X10 smartphone could become one of the better mobile devices for multimedia and entertainment. The device has the hardware and software necessary to take high-resolution pictures, access Web sites and stream video from the Internet.

        It includes an 8.1-megapixel camera, and images will be displayed on its 4-inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) touch screen. The device is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor running at 1GHz, which is also used in netbook-like devices running full-fledged Linux operating systems. The Xperia weighs just 135 grams.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Atom N450 Netbooks Hit Full Force in January
        Starting January 11th, you'll be able to get faster, beefier netbooks, with the arrival of next-gen Atom chips, according to Gizmodo.

        Search for netbooks on and you'll notice that for all the different models you can buy, the specs are mostly standard: 10.1-inch screen, 160GB hard drive, 1GB DDR2 of memory, and a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor. If you're willing to spend the money, you can upgrade to 2GB ram and a 1.66GHz Atom N280, but that's about it.

      • Netbooks: What's the small idea?
        None of these three computers were awful, but they all could have been better. It shouldn't be that hard: Manufacturers just need to remember that netbooks aren't shrunken versions of regular laptops. It would help if Microsoft stopped trying to wish away this category of computer -- but if it won't, there are good Linux developers that would gladly take its place.

      • Sugar on a Stick: What it means for e-books and education
        “Ooo4Kids” or Open Office for Children brings the power of word-processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools to the Sugar learner.

        With all of the Activities, Sugar users can share their work, locally in a classroom or globally, from Bangkok to Bogotá to Berlin.

        A new version of Sugar has just been released: Sugar on a Stick v2 Blueberry. Available for download, Sugar on a Stick can be loaded onto any ordinary 1Gb or greater flash drive to reboot any PC, netbook or recent Mac directly into the child-friendly Sugar environment without touching the existing installation. Sugar is also available for GNU/Linux distributions, runs under virtualization on Windows and Apple OS X, and features built-in classroom collaboration and automatic backup to a Journal.

      • Netbook Operating System Jolicloud Set to Take on Google Chrome OS
        When it comes to lightweight operating systems for a netbook or smartbook (which is basically a netbook that runs an ARM processor — expect to see them early next year), much of the recent buzz has centered around Google’s Chrome OS.

      • Jolicloud netbook Linux distro goes beta
        The netbook form factor is here to stay, but even the best operating systems don’t do a great job with squeezing into the minimum screen real estate afforded by a 10.1 incher. Windows 7 is guilty of wasting too much of a netbook’s 1024 x 600 screen with the extremely large task bar, while OS X (if you run a Hackintosh) has the famous dock, which is notoriously unfriendly to smaller screens.

      • Google's Chrome OS Aims to Speed Up Netbooks
        A few weeks ago, Google unveiled what it's hoping will be the new standard in netbook operating systems: Chrome OS. Based on Linux, Chrome OS is a fast, low-overhead OS that boots directly into a Web browser to get you online with as little waiting as possible. We've been running an early version of Chrome OS on our test systems since Google released the code to the open-source community. Here's a peek at what you can expect to see when preinstalled systems debut for the 2010 holiday season.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Colorado city adopts open-source platform for its network gateway
    The city settled on Untangle’s Open Source Network Gateway, which fulfilled not only the baseline Web filtering requirements but also includes a suite of add-ons that are saving the city more money.

    Westminster uses an outside service for antivirus protection and to block spam. The service was stopping 90 percent of incoming spam, said network administrator John Neiberger, but the IT staff members still had to deal with the remaining 10 percent until they turned on the Untangle Gateway’s spam blocker.

    “In August, it quarantined 10,000 more messages that we didn’t have to do manually,” Neiberger said. He estimated that freed 33 hours of IT staff members' time, at a savings of about $1,000 to the city.

  • When integrating many tools, one size does not fit all
    Information technology administrators at Westminster, Colo., saved money by using the Untangle Gateway from Untangle to help monitor and control Internet access, but not everything worked out of the box.

  • 9 Management Apps That Won't Bust Your Budget
    Open source world delivers enterprise capabilities at a price that's hard to resist.

  • Is the Future of SOA Open Source?
    The bottom line here is that open source solutions can provide real value to SOA efforts today, both in terms of reductions in up-front cost as well as other the attendant benefits of open source including the ability to directly influence product evolution, more transparent architecture, as long as its functional strengths in service fabric are clearly understood and respected.

  • A spectacular view of the entire Milky Way... using open source!
    Do not adjust your computer screen: what you see here is a piece of genius. A labor of love spanning two years, two hemispheres, two countries and over 3000 images... I give to you, the All-Sky Milky Way Panorama -- version 2! And, you'll be glad to hear, it was stitched together with open-source software.

  • Mozilla

  • Databases/Datacentre

  • Business (Press Releases)

  • Funding

  • Government

    • Obama Promotes New Open Government Initiative
      U.S. government agencies must publish their information online in "open formats," under a new open government plan released by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

    • OSTP to Launch Public Forum to Discuss Options for Improving Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research
      On Thursday, Dec. 10, OSTP will launch a public consultation on Public Access Policy. The Administration is seeking public input on access to publicly-funded research results, such as those that appear in academic and scholarly journal articles. Currently, the National Institutes of Health require that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. The Administration is seeking views as to whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented.

    • Why open source may win the electronic health record market
      There are literally dozens of EHRs to choose from. The vast majority are proprietary.


      Enter Medsphere, a commercial supporter of VistA software. Their OpenVista is open source. Kern could download it, call it free, and then sign a professional services contract with Medsphere for support.

    • Find out where the UK government spends its money
      The Open Knowledge Foundation has created a visualisation so that everyone can easily understand British government spending

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Marketplace is Now Live
      I am very pleased to announce that Eclipse Marketplace is now live. Thanks to everyone that provided feedback as we rolled out Marketplace. A big thanks to Nathan Gervias who has done a great job making Marketplace a reality. The results are fantastic.

    • Sun Microsystems Releases NetBeans IDE 6.8
      Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAVA) and the NetBeans(TM) developer community today announced the availability of the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 6.8, the first IDE to provide complete support for the Java(TM) Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6) and Sun GlassFish(TM) Enterprise Server v3, as well as other innovative new features. Developers can download the NetBeans IDE 6.8 at

    • Sun Microsystems Launches GlassFish Enterprise Server v3
      Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 is the industry’s first application server to support the new Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6). Java EE 6 introduces features to increase the flexibility of the platform and enable companies to use the new, lightweight Web Profile, in addition to the full enterprise platform, to help meet their business requirements.


  • Santa Claus banned from visiting locked-up children in UK asylum detention centre
    Santa Claus was prevented from giving presents to the imprisoned children of asylum seekers at the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre by private security guards. Yarl's Wood is a privately run prison whose inmates are UK immigrants who arrived seeking asylum, but whose claims have been denied. They are dragged out of bed in the dead of night and stuck in mesh-windowed vans without their belongings and without the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, and then detained in terrible conditions that have been decried by human rights advocates, doctors, psychiatrists and other experts. Their "crime" is trying to escape torture, privation, and disaster.

  • Environment

    • Ocean acidification rates pose disaster for marine life, major study shows
      The world's oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 55m years, threatening disaster for marine life and food supplies across the globe, delegates at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen have been warned.


      Congressman Brian Baird, a Democrat representative from Washington state, who championed a bill in Congress promoting US research on ocean acidification, said these findings would help counter climate change sceptics, since acidification was easily and immediately measurable.

      "The consequences of ocean acidification may be every bit as grave as the consequences of temperature increases," he said. "It's one thing to question a computer extrapolation, or say it snowed in Las Vegas last year, but to say basic chemistry doesn't apply is a real problem [for the sceptics]. I think the evidence is really quite striking."

    • First days of Copenhagen talks
      A Danish text has provoked strong protests from developing countries in Copenhagen, while there are calls for nuclear's role to be recognised.

      The Danish text, termed the 'Copenhagen Agreement', was leaked to the Guardian newspaper yesteday, although its contents had been discussed informally at preparatory meetings.

    • The Story behind COP15, G77, Klimaforum09 and the Tired Ambassador
      I walked into the alternative to the Climate Conference, ”Klimaforum09,” with a specific question I wanted answered: "In what practical way can the activists here be successful in the effort to avoid catastrophic climate change?" I had heard plenty of general declarations about how bad our plight is, and about the necessity for clean energy to happen fast – but I wanted to know what was being done to get from Point A to Point B.

  • Finance

    • State Of California Doesn't Know How To Accept $14 Fee
      Reader Justin may have discovered the real reason for California's fiscal crisis. He owes the DMV $14, but says that the DMV doesn't seem to want his money. Which is strange, since this is the opposite of how most people think of the DMV. Maybe they don't have any lines, either.

    • Hundreds of billions in crime money knowingly laundered by banks during credit crunch
      The Observer reports that an estimated $352bn of drug and mafia money was laundered by the major banks at the peak of the credit crunch, while regulators turned a blind eye, since the highly liquid criminal underworld was the only source of the cash necessary to keep the banks' doors open. As Charlie Stross notes, "A third of a trillion dollars is a lot of money; it's enough to fund the US military invading another country halfway around the world, or a manned Mars exploration program." Charlie goes on to mention that now that these narcobucks "aren't neatly bundled up inside the mattress any more; they're in the system," that there's $0.3 trillion sitting there, nice and legal, entering the investment world.

    • [corp-focus] A Little Bit of Wall Street Reform
      Four hundred forty-two days after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, the U.S. House of Representatives has finally passed financial reform legislation.

      The long delay between the onset of the financial crisis -- a direct consequence of a quarter century of deregulation -- and the passage of Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 did not well serve the cause of reform.

    • Goldman Sachs: One of the Banksters
      The purpose of comprehensive financial reform isn't to limit bankers' wealth or to prevent yesterday's specific problems. It's about strengthening the financial system. Reducing systemic risk will benefit the whole economy, and in the long run the banks themselves.

  • AstroTurf

    • Insurers Trick Facebook Users Into Opposing Health Care Reform
      A coalition of insurance industry groups called "Get Health Reform Right," led by Blue Cross Blue Shield and including America's Health Insurance Plans, the American Benefits Council and others, has been caught tricking Facebook users into sending electronic letters opposing health care reform to their Congressional representatives by paying them with "virtual currency."

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Take-Down of Home Video From YouTube Site Leads to Damages Suit
      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to make Universal Music pay damages for unfairly taking a home video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song off YouTube.

      But before the sides get to the sticky question of just how the toddler's mother, Stephanie Lenz, suffered by having the video pulled and later restored to YouTube, the EFF wants a judge to determine if such damages are even possible.

    • Top Ten China Myths of 2009
      The Internet might be censored but it can never be rolled back in China. Fact: Over the summer, China embarked on an unprecedented effort to maintain stability: it could be called The Great Internet Shut-Down. After scores of people were killed and hundreds injured in the worst ethnic violence in decades in the Xinjiang region, authorities simply turned off large portions of the Web in Xinjiang and left it off for months. No email, Skype, and IM, though local news sites and shopping and such were still available, as this good description points out. The effect on business and education is incalculable, but, in a measure of how much China is willing to do to protect stability, authorities kept the ban in place well into the winter. This would probably not work on a national basis, but the ban was a shocking reminder of what is possible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Filesharing is good for social welfare
      Does filesharing reduce profits of the music industry? This paper claims so, and that should not be that much of a surprise. However, it also argues that filesharing is welfare improving because it leads to more competition and thus lower prices. Remember, ultimately it is the consumer that counts when computing a surplus, not just music industry profits.

    • Digital Publications May Be A Hard Sell
      Five of the largest U.S. newspaper and magazine publishers have announced plans to develop a new digital e-reader format that would meld the visual esthetics of print with the rich capabilities of online media, including video, social networking, touch input, and games. A joint venture of publishing powerhouses Time Inc., News Corp., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp., and Meredith Corp., the project will launch next year. It's designed to offer a superior user experience to current e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, which are fine for book-reading but ill-equipped to handle video, high-resolution color images, and other media elements that today's Web-browsing readers take for granted.

    • Nobel Streams Laureates Over the Web in Bid to Build Brand
      In a break from decades of Nobel history -- when laureates' lectures were available only in real time to privileged attendees in Oslo and Stockholm -- this year's speeches are being broadcast live on the Web. The offerings are part of the foundation's drive to spread the Nobel brand and harness long-neglected intellectual-property rights.

    • Sarkozy to protect French literature from readers and the evils of increased relevance
      According to the NYT, Nicolas Sarkozy said that “[w]e won’t let ourselves be stripped of our heritage to the benefit of a big company, no matter how friendly, big or American it is,” probably referring to the fact that about half of the 12 million books scanned by Google are not in English. How exactly is cultural heritage threatened by increased access? Because hundreds of thousands of links to French language books would be added to the 850,000 entries in the French Wikipedia within weeks? Because more and more people around the world would read, re-read, and incorporate in their own lifes, storytelling, and cultural production French works? Prime Minister Francois Fillon similarly said that France would not accept another cultural industry being “threatened by looting.” So culture is looted by access, use, and relevance? What a profound misunderstaning of what culture is and how it works.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Stormy Peters, HP open source strategist 09 (2004)

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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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