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Links 19/12/2009: Many New GNU/Linux Releases, Android Products



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Linux That's Smaller. Faster. Smarter.
    Carbon Mountain is redefining the way Linux is used in the Data Center with an innovative new Hypervisor Platform, KaOSâ„¢.


  • The Tech Skills You'll Pay More for in 2010
    In particular, the online contract worker marketplace said 2010 is shaping up to be a hot year for developers with PHP, HTML, CSS, WordPress and Adobe Flash skills, as well as designers with Photoshop expertise. Demand for those skilled in the MySQL database also cracked a Elance's top-ten list of 2010's most requested skills.


  • Linux operating system future is in cloud computing and devices
    Linux Foundation President, Jim Zemlin, will continue to push his notion of "Linux everywhere" for the new year. He pointed out that Linux is the heart of connected televisions, cameras, set top boxes, netbooks, smartphones, video games, tablet PCs, smart homes, automotive, GPS, and much more.




  • Desktop

    • Get a Linux desktop to make Windows and OS X users weep with envy
      Good looks was never supposed to be a priority for Linux apps. It wasn't so long ago that we seemed to be struggling to get even basic eye-candy such as anti-aliased fonts to work on the Linux desktop, but things have changed almost beyond recognition.

      It's now fair to say that the Linux desktop is at the forefront of visual effect, a cornucopia of eye-candy overflowing on to your desktop. And with a few tweaks, it can look even better.


    • Switching to Linux: One man's personal experience
      Linux boots up faster than Windows and has a snappy feel. With Ubuntu on my notebook, for instance, double clicking a 1 mb Word document takes 15 seconds to start Open Office and open the document. Using Microsoft Word in Vista takes 50 seconds. In both systems the task is much faster when run a second time, possibly due to caching - two seconds for Linux and six for Vista.

      No OS is perfect, but I've found Linux to be fast, stable, and secure. While I still use Windows for a few specific programs, Linux offers greater peace of mind in everyday use - especially when online.


    • Be Free – Use Linux on your PC
      As you can, we can save lots of money in the basics by taking the Linux route, versus the mainstream-friendly Windows path.

      Grand total for a full-featured operating system, and robust office-suite: Windows = $349.94 Linux = $0.00








  • Kernel Space

    • Oh time suspend your flying




    • Graphics Stack

      • A Video To Show Off X.Org's Multi-Touch Support
        As a result of the MPX support in the mainline X.Org Server, the Interactive Computing Lab has produced a new video to show off this support as they had informed us this morning. In the video (below) they are using Fedora 12 with its X Server 1.7 and Linux 2.6.31 kernel.


      • R600 Open-Source Driver WIth GLSL, OpenGL 2.0
        AMD's Richard Li recently introduced a commit that enables GL2 and there has been other AMD/ATI 3D work going on too. The Radeon Feature Matrix has also been updated to reflect the GLSL support now being mostly done for the ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series and its OpenGL 2.0 compatibility.










  • Applications







  • Desktop Environments

    • Using KDE Software to Empower Cultural Diversity - an Interview With Vox Humanitatis
      Among the broad selection of software offered in the KDE Software Compilation is Parley, an application for vocabulary training. Recently people from Vox Humanitatis came in and provided a set of vocabulary data files for Parley for less known languages. This piqued our curiosity, so we did an interview with Sabine Emmy Eller, CCO of Vox Humanitatis.


    • KDE 4 Dolphin Terminal Integration Introduction


    • Can free software transition to the web services world?
      So how do free software projects develop and host web services? Do they use business models like advertising to be self sustaining? Do they start foundations like the GNOME Foundation that will run as a nonprofit but make enough money of the hosted version to at least cover expenses? Or will all hosted services be essentially startup companies done by free software developers hoping to create a successful company?








  • Distributions







  • Devices/Embedded

    • Amazon Kindle International Edition
      Audio file support is limited to MP3 and Audible, and the music player, such as it is, does nothing more than play MP3 files in the order they happen to be in the Kindle's music folder. There is no UI of any sort to manage music content but you can sync content via an MTP media player. Both the music player and text-to-voice feature are currently housed in the "Experimental" menu, which suggests they may be improved by future firmware updates.

      [...]

      Assuming you plan on buying all your books from Amazon, won't miss a decent music player and don't have any ePub files you want to read, the Kindle should satisfy. The screen is good, it's easy to use and, file support aside, the features list is up with the best of the competition. The problem is that if you live outside the US, Amazon will happily take your money but treat you like a second-class citizen. And if you do buy your books from Amazon, you're stuck with its e-readers no matter what else comes along from the likes of Sony, iRiver or Samsung.


    • EeeBot With Google Android
      The EeeBot project will focus on building content and services around the robot to subsidize the cost of the hardware and make them more affordable to families. Technologies involved in the project include human robot interaction, voice and visual technologies, as well as positioning and navigation, in addition to software and other hardware.


    • Two-bay home office NAS device runs Linux
      Synology America Corp. is shipping a two-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device, offering up to 4TB of sharable storage for home and entry-level business users. The Linux-based DS210j is equipped with an 800MHz processor, a gigabit Ethernet port, two USB ports, and version 2.2 of Synology's DNLA-compliant Disk Station Manager software.


    • BoxeeBox among 2009's most popular DIY projects
      Hey, we just discovered that our very own DIY BoxeeBox has made LifeHacker.com’s list of the “Most Popular DIY Projects of 2009.”


    • $99 Linux PC in a keyboard launches
      THE ASUS EEE KEYBOARD might be the most desirable computer in a keyboard design, but it’s unlikely to be cheap once it launches considering all the little tweaks Asus had done to it since it was announced. Enter the NorhTec Gecko Surfboard, the $99 PC in a keyboard that runs Linux on a 1GHz x86 SoC. If you found the Eee Keyboard to be way too powerful for your needs, then look no further as the Gecko Surfboard won’t break any performance records.




    • Android

      • Android is big in the mobile OS game
        ACCORDING TO STATISTICS from Comscore, Google's Android OS has made a quick and big impression on US mobile users.

        User statistics compiled by the firm show that Android has had an impact on Americans already and is the second most popular platform for accessing social media sites and mobile media.


      • Google Android push gains march in Taiwan with new project
        The Taiwanese government on Thursday announced support for a new project based on Google's Android mobile operating system, one of a number of moves by Taipei this year to support Android.


      • AT&T May Offer Acrobatic Android
        AT&T, the exclusive U.S. distributor of Apple's iPhone, is rumored to be adding an Android smartphone to its lineup. Named either the "Backflip" or the "Enzo" -- previously known as the "Motus" -- the device sports an unusual design. The Querty keyboard flips back behind the screen instead of sliding under it.






    • Sub-notebooks

      • Reflections on Australia Classroom use of XO Laptop
        I've only had limited time with two XOs in connected mode so far, but they are so easy to hook up via their built-in mesh networking that almost every activity can be shared between multiple students. This includes co-writing or drawing, or even controlling each others camera, or using the sonar sound activity to measure distance between machines. It really is the learning theory of connectivism personified in a device.

        Even the Sugar OS that they run has an interface of brilliant simplicity, with every activity running full screen and auto-saving, while a 'journal' of every activity they have done is accessible with just one button push. I'm looking forward to using them outside regularly thanks to the special LCD screen they have that allows full readability in sunlight.


      • Linux Wizard - Experimental Mandriva Moblin LiveCD
        Thomas Lottmann is providing experimental Mandriva-based Moblin LiveCD images. Theses images are provided in order to help testing Mandriva Moblin implementation.


      • JooJoo Company Responds to TechCrunch Lawsuit
        With regard to Arrington's claims that the company was not financially stable, FG said it was a properly capitalized start up that has received $3 million in funding to date. Additionally, the company claimed it has numerous international angel investors and said it is preparing to announce a new round within the coming weeks.












Free Software/Open Source

  • When does marketing software become political?
    I believe it should be an obvious idea that clean air is good. Telling the world they want to breathe less pollutantsis a lot like telling everyone that free and open source software is in their best interest. Even though it seems like common sense to the believers, it is inconveniently inconsistent with the way of life in economic powerhouses like the United States.

    Most computing environments contain an overwhelming quantity of Microsoft software. Even if the products we use every day are tainted, nobody wants to believe it. Instead users, even those who prefer open source, silently stick to status-quo. It’s easier to shell out $100 here and there to ignore the issue.

    Open source software is an ideal which is competing against tangible products that come in shrink-wrapped boxes. All of the answers on how sharing code with your neighbor his commercially healthy are detailed in the 1985 GNU Manifesto. That was almost 25 years ago, why the world does the political agenda of software freedom seem radical? The answer is that proprietary software companies have been pushing their counter-propaganda.


  • Free Software, Open Data give more opportunities to young Kosovars
    During summer of 2009 I received an invitation to explain how Free Software can help developing countries at SFK09, the first Software Freedom Conference in Kosova. Here is why and how, after SFK09, some people continue to propose "Free as in Freedom" digital technologies as an important tool to solve the serious problem of people in Kosova (or any other country, really).

    [...]

    Besides the GNU Project and Linux, the Conference introduced what are probably the most relevant FLOSS/Open Culture projects for teenagers these days: Wikipedia, the Creative Commons and two projects already covered here at Stop! /Zona-M: "One Laptop per Child" and OpenStreetMap.




  • Audio

    • FLOSS Weekly 100: Chris DiBona and Google
      Chris DiBona drops back in for episode 100 to talk Google and open source.


    • A F/OSS related podcast advertises a M$ product
      A few weeks back I became aware that FLOSS Weekly started advertising for the Ford Sync product which is co-developed by Microsoft. I know Leo Laporte only cares about money. That’s fine, he’s a businessman and wants to make as much money as possible. Fair enough. I do think it’s atrociously bad taste to advertise for one of the most closed and predatory companies in the world on a show geared towards Free & Open Source users/supporters.


    • Frugal Tech Show with Bob Barry of Astak/Team Research


    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2009.12.18
      Topics for this podcast:

      *2009 review and 2010 preview *New CAOS survey and report – Climate Change *Ups and downs in new round of GPL lawsuits *Oracle-Sun-MySQL saga continues






  • Kudos

    • Hug Your Favorite FOSS Contributors Today (On the Internet, no one can see you nod.)
      So I suggest taking Val's Thank-You Meme a step further and take a minute to send a thank-you to your favorite FOSS project. Or three or ten or however many. It's fast, easy, and encouraging. Just like Valerie said, on the Internet no one can see you nod, so consider taking that extra step to let some of our fine FOSS contributors know that you appreciate what they're doing. And remember that's not just developers, but packagers, artists, distro maintainers, people who help in forums, howto authors, Linux OEM vendors, independent consultants, and so on. We need all of us.


    • I just want some freedom
      As a consumer, I’ve never really minded paying for software, and while I’m far from made of money, the free that interests me the most where open source software is concerned is the kind that lets me use said programs for what I want, without the fussiness and demands of a publisher on the other side of the planet getting in my way. Bluntly, I’d rather commercial publishers just said thanks and went on their way, rather than filling my in-box with junk.

      To those, therefore, who work away on open source software: my thanks. Because even though the comments on message boards and suchlike may kid you otherwise, your work is appreciated. And your ethos most certainly is too…






  • Mozilla

    • Web Winners and Losers in 2009
      The most important platform in 2010 for Mozilla might just be mobile. The Moz folks have been putting a lot of work into Fennec, which is finally nearing 1.0. A unified desktop and mobile strategy might help Mozilla quite a bit, but they’re going to be facing stiff competition — especially since two of the popular smartphone platforms have their own built-in Web browser. Mozilla might be able to level the playing field a bit on Android devices, but it’s hard to picture Apple giving any space in the app store to a competing browser.






  • Databases







  • CMS

    • Fujifilm using Drupal
      The Japanese Fujifilm, with more than 75,000 employees the world's largest photographic and imaging company, is using Drupal for a community site at http://www.myfinepix.com. It is a website where FinePix camera owners come together to share images, knowledge and inspiration.






  • BSD

    • FreeBSD end-of-year fund raising drive (update)
      FreeBSD is free; it can be downloaded, used and adapted without paying any fees, unlike other major operating systems. This is why the FreeBSD Foundation needs donations to be able to fund new projects and conferences.








  • Licensing

    • Fulfillment center aims to protect companies from GPL lawsuits
      On the heels of a recent lawsuit over GPLv2 violations filed against 14 companies by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), open source software service provider OpenLogic has launched a service that helps companies ensure compliance with GPL licenses. The Open Source Fulfillment Center offers services including consulting, application audits, license analysis, and fulfillment support.


    • Understanding Licenses, bit by bit (3)
      In the past two installments, I suggested a basic icon theme to describe the important points of a variety of Free Software licenses, applied those icons to the top ten most popular Free Software licenses and found that several of them are “the same” in terms of icons — which suggests that either what the two licenses does is roughly the same (so we can consider them equivalent) or that there is a distinguishing characteristic that hasn’t been taken into account yet. The second installment took a close look at two licenses that were “the same” and illustrated a third option: that I’d applied the icons wrongly.








  • Programming

    • A look at Qt 4.6
      Nokia updated its Qt application framework to version 4.6 on December 1st, adding support for several operating systems — most notably its own mobile platforms: the recently open source Symbian and the Linux-based Maemo. Qt 4.6 introduces new graphics features, new input methods, and updates to the QtScript scripting engine. Along with the framework itself, Nokia updated its cross-platform Qt integrated development environment (IDE) Qt Creator to support the new features and new target platforms.


    • Tech Comics: "The User and the Geek"


    • World's Largest Python Conference Comes to Atlanta
      Python is an open-source, dynamically typed, object-oriented programming language that can be used in nearly the entire range of technology applications. It offers an easy learning curve and access to a vast array of libraries.








Leftovers

  • Worst Internet disasters of the decade
    Now that this decade is coming to an end, we thought it would be a good time to list the very worst Internet disasters that happened between 2000 and 2009. And believe us, there have been some really big ones. Some you may remember, and some may be new to you, but they all affected a huge amount of Internet users.


  • Top Ten Bad Tech Predictions for 2009


  • Top Arizona Republican Accused of Using Voter Database to Stalk Woman
    More misconduct has been alleged against Arizona Republican Party executive director Brett Mecum, who is now the subject of a criminal complaint alleging he used the Republican's voter database to stalk a young female graduate student.




  • Environment

    • Stop Danish Police Abuses Against Peaceful Climate Protestors
      Over the past two weeks, citizens of countries all over the world have come to Copenhagen for the UN COP-15 climate negotiations. Many have engaged in peaceful, nonviolent protest, trying to push world leaders to sign a meaningful deal that will save our planet for future generations.

      Rather that giving them the space, the Danish police have used extremely heavy-handed and cruel mass arrest tactics, potentially violating European human rights laws. The Danish police are out of control, and they need to be held accountable.


    • Crackdown in Copenhagen
      Over the past week, the Danish capital has welcomed delegates, corporate lobbyists, and representatives of mainstream, moderate NGOs with open arms; however, they’ve shown a somewhat uglier face towards activists advocating climate justice.


    • Deal or No Deal at COP15?
      I walked into the Klimaforum hall and saw a group of newly arrived Bolivians organizing themselves near the entrance. I had just read some great quotes from South American leaders--Venezuela's Hugo Chavez saying if the climate crisis was a banking problem it would be already solved, and Bolivia's Evo Morales calling "shame" on America, as he compared the 687 billion dollar defense budget of the U.S. to the 10 billion America is offering to finance the third world climate budget being negotiated now at the Conference.


    • COP15, Ways to Get More Specific for Change
      Finally, I was accosted by a large penguin holding a submachine gun and holding a sign with the demand "Move It!" He told me that his home had melted but now he has a gun and is headed for some bars in Copenhagen looking for ice machines to bring back to Antarctica.


    • Will Copenhagen Resuscitate Carbon Capture and Storage?
      Australia, the world's largest global coal-exporting country, was careful to avoid any discussion of its own self-interest, preferring to hype the technology and its global potential. Citing a draft report presented to the Executive Board of the CDM, the Australian representative claimed that it "clearly shows that CCS is a mature technology that will be progressively deployed across developed and developing countries over the coming decade". He also claimed that "business and host governments need to receive a clear early signal before they commit to such large scale early investments. We should send that signal at Copenhagen."








  • Finance

    • Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor
      Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

      Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (€£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.








  • AstroTurf

    • Joe Lieberman: The Best Senator Money Can Buy?
      But the main reason could be that, over his political career, Senator Lieberman has accepted more than $1 million from large, Connectucut-based health insurance companies, a figure which led the New York Times to dub him the "Million Dollar Man." In his 2006 re-election campaign, Lieberman ranked second in the Senate in accepting insurance industry contributions.


    • Traitor Joe
      In 2005, when Democrats vowed to filibuster several judicial nominees of President George W. Bush, Republican Leader Bill Frist threatened a "nuclear option," declaring such use of the filibuster unconstitutional. Later, with Democrats in charge, Republicans demanded a filibuster as a prerequisite to any vote. Meaning: even if you have the support of 51 senators necessary to pass a bill, you can't schedule a vote unless you first deliver 60 senators. That's how just one man can now prevent senators from doing their job. It's in the interest of both parties to end that potential for abuse, once and for all.








  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Internet Provider Says It Blocks Sites
      Yota denied that it was blocking those sites. But Denis Sverdlov, chief executive of WiMax operator Skartel, which runs the Yota brand, did acknowledge that Yota blocks access to sites that are classified as extremist by the Justice Ministry. Because of that, Yota users cannot open the Chechen rebel web site Kavkazcenter.com.


    • Vancouver orders removal of anti-Olympic mural
      The city issued the order under its graffiti bylaw, but it comes in the wake of a debate over a controversial city sign bylaw that opponents feared would allow officials to stifle anti-Olympic expression.


    • AOC prepares for legal action over report
      THE Australian Olympic Committee is preparing legal action against a company behind the Federal Government's report into the future of Australian sport.

      The Crawford report, which last week called for a shift in funding away from Olympic sports towards professional and ''national pysche'' sports, paid for advice from a company part-owned by former AFL star James Hird.

      The company, Gemba Group, criticised the AOC, comparing it unfavourably to the US Olympic Committee in its report to the panel of experts.








  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • File-sharing Bill could give Government control of the internet
      The Digital Economy Bill would give the Government the power to control the internet access of UK citizens by ministerial order, bypassing Parliament and without an adequate right of appeal, according to one legal expert.

      Barrister Francis Davey has examined clause 11 of the Bill and believes that it puts extraordinary powers to control the information available to UK internet users in the hands of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, currently Lord Mandelson.


    • No decrease in illegal downloading, says BPI
      The number of people downloading music illegally is not decreasing, despite the availability of new legal services, according to a music industry research.


    • BPI Survey Suggests Spotify Hasn't Magically Decreased Desire For Unauthorized Music Access
      Still, what strikes me as interesting is that BPI still keeps insisting that this is a "problem," without any evidence that this is true. The only real "problem" is the failure of the record labels that BPI represents to adjust their business models. If they did that, there wouldn't be much of a problem at all. But, the labels don't want to do that. They want the government to rescue them and to pretend they can keep doing business they way they always did.


    • Football chiefs to fine YouTube schoolboy €£5,000
      BUCKIE Thistle may not enjoy the sophisticated multi-camera TV coverage afforded to more illustrious clubs. But for two years David Smith has stoically filmed his beloved Buckie and posted the footage on YouTube for the enjoyment of the elderly, housebound and loyal fans off-shore and abroad.

      The ten-minute clips, complete with team credits, have earned a cult following on the internet, but the Highland League has now threatened the schoolboy with a €£5,000 fine for breach of copyright.


    • Chuy's told to pay $49K for song use without OK
      A federal judge has ruled the owners of six Tucson Chuy's Mesquite Broiler restaurants must pay almost $49,000 for playing songs without permission.


    • NBC, Defender Of All Things Copyright, Copies Blogger's Post Without Permission; Removes Her Name When She Complains
      So, with all that, you'd have to imagine that if he found out about a company associated with the Olympics copied someone's blog post without first getting their permission, he'd be pretty upset. But what if that company was NBC Universal? Reader JC points us to the news that NBC Universal's Olympics website has been caught copying a blog post and then when alerted to it, rather than removing the content, it just removed the writer's name. It looks like the attention this story has received has resulted in NBC Universal putting her name back on the story, but the story remains on the site.


    • Should e-Books Be Copy Protected?
      When I wrote about my concerns a year ago, my readers took me to task. "For all you know," went their counterargument, "the illegal copies are just advertising for you; people will download them, try them out, then go by the physical book. Either that, or they're being downloaded by people who would not have bought your book anyway. Why don't you try a controlled experiment and see?"

      Well, it sounded like it could be a very costly experiment. But I agreed. My publisher, O'Reilly, decided to try an experiment, offering one of my Windows books for sale as an unprotected PDF file.

      After a year, we could compare the results with the previous year's sales.

      The results? It was true. The thing was pirated to the skies. It's all over the Web now, ridiculously easy to download without paying.

      The crazy thing was, sales of the book did not fall. In fact, sales rose slightly during that year.










Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 04 (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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