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Links 29/12/2009: GNU/Linux for Kerala Legislators, Monty Still Rushes Against Oracle



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Contents





GNU/Linux

  • 141 Kerala legislators get a laptop
    Thiruvananthapuram: All 141 legislators of the state assembly were Tuesday given a brand new HCL laptop each. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan handed over one laptop to Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy at the banquet hall of the state assembly.

    It is yet to be decided if the legislators would be charged for the computers, speaker of the assembly K. Radhakrishnan told.


  • Labs Outlook 2010: Oracle/Sun, Microsoft Azure, Office, Ubuntu and Chrome OS Will Make Big Waves
    Ubuntu 10.04, a.k.a. the Lucid Lynx, is set to hit the Web in April. Lucid will be Canonical's third Long Term Support release, and I expect it to break new ground for the organization in the server space, owing in large part to its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud functionality.

    Toward the end of the year, I expect to see devices shipping with Google's Web-centric Chrome OS, which may well set the stage for a new batch of rich Web applications in 2011 and beyond.


  • How to Troubleshoot and Repair Your PC
    Diagnosing With Linux

    One last bit of advice. Sometimes you might suspect that a piece of hardware is defective but, you don’t have a utility available to actually test the device. For example, I had a client complaining that the network adapter on an HP workstation had gone bad. I replaced the motherboard (which had an integrated network adapter).

    When I got back into Windows I tried to access the Internet, but the network adapter still wouldn’t work. So I reloaded drivers, verified IP settings and performed numerous other tests. Still, I could not get this PC online. I concluded that something inside of Windows was causing the problem, and the only thing left to do was to reinstall Windows. The client wasn’t willing to redo a system based on a hunch, so to test my hypothesis I booted the system using an Ubuntu Live CD.

    Ubuntu Live CD is a version of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system that runs completely off of a CD without having to install it to the PC. This let me boot into a completely different operating system on the same PC, without modifying the current Windows configuration.


  • How to get the Windows 7 look in Linux
    Getting the Windows look is only another step in the same direction. We're going to try and ape the current generation of Windows – the newly released Windows 7 – and merge some of its features into the Linux desktop, and we've decided to use KDE to do it.


  • 2009: A Linux year in review
    Was 2009 the year of the Linux desktop? It’s a rather silly question, honestly, and a Google search will show that for the last number of years, there have been constant predictions that that year was the year of the Linux desktop. And, guaranteed, in January there will be more predictions that 2010 will be “the year of the Linux desktop!”

    But why this focus on a particular point in time? Recent distributions already prove that Linux is more than capable for the desktop, and this has been true for years. 2009 brought about GNOME 2.28 and KDE 4.3, both forward-progressing desktop environments. Are they perfect? Of course not. But let me pose this question: Is Windows on the desktop perfect?

    Linux on the desktop is entirely subjective: For some, the year of their Linux desktop was 2009, or last year, or the year before that. For others, Linux won’t be good enough until 2010, or 2011, or even further.


  • Why is separation between data and system files not a standard OS feature
    I’ve been wondering about this particular issue for a few years now. I’m secretly hoping that Chrome with it’s cloud based storage will finally push OS developers in the right direction and will make them start thinking about finally separating system and data files by default. Or maybe not.


  • A Bit of Welcomed Scumm on Your Linux Machine
    This might make me sound like an old fogey, but I really do miss the old games like Space Quest, The Curse of Monkey Island and Return to Zork. The problem isn't that I don't have the games anymore, but rather that they were designed for my 386 computer running DOS. Thankfully, I'm not alone in my fits of nostalgia. The developers over at www.scummvm.org have reproduced the “Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion” developed by Lucas Arts and packaged it into a virtual machine (thus, ScummVM). That virtual machine is open source and available for just about any platform you can imagine.




  • Server







  • Applications







  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Browser Linux: if you thought Google Chrome was good
        BrowserLinux is a relatively new distro and has good features but not a good developer community as of yet.


      • SystemRescueCd 1.3.4 Released, Now with Linux Kernel 2.6.31.9
        François Dupoux announced on December 28th the immediate availability of the SystemRescueCd 1.3.4 operating system. The new release is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.31.9, with an updated Btrfs filesystem from Linux kernel 2.6.32 and Xorg Server 1.6.5.


      • Super OS 9.10 - Karmic Koala with Muscles
        Hacktolive.org announced today, December 29th, yet another version of their Ubuntu-based Linux distribution... with "super powers." Super OS 9.10 (formerly known as Super Ubuntu) includes patches, tools and technologies that are missing from a standard Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) default installation.








    • Debian Family

      • Karmic Koala: What's New in Ubuntu
        The new Karmic Koala contains more updates than any Ubuntu release in some time. Users will certainly notice one thing from the start: The system boots up much more quickly. The reworked design also stands out. While it still features the brown tones for which Ubuntu is known, it also reminds one a bit of the Mac OS interface.


      • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx: Will You Upgrade?
        At the moment Canonical seem set to release the next version of their OS in late April 2010, this latest version will be version 10.04 and is named Lucid Lynx, this is their first major release since Karmic Koala which was released in late October 2009.


      • mintCast Wallpaper Challenge [1st&2nd Place win IBM Laptop]
        I wanted to detail the the wallpaper challenge that Charles and I announced in the latest http://mintcast.org (episode 28). Please post here or email the podcast with any questions. Good Luck!










  • Devices/Embedded

    • Igaware All-In-One Small Business Server
      We hooked up the appliance's LAN and WAN ports, and from the tidy web interface set up the firewall to perform NAT on the WAN port. A failing of many competing products has been their inability to hide the underlying Linux kernel for management, but Igaware has made a good job of this, so Windows users don't need to know about Linux.




    • Android

      • Android Phones to Challenge iPhone Supremacy
        Now bitter industry rival SK Telecom is looking to generate just as much buzz by getting out of the gate early on premium phones powered by the Google-backed Android operating system.

        SK Telecom, the country's biggest mobile telephony operator, currently plans to release its first Android phone, produced by Motorola, sometime around mid-January, industry sources said.


      • T-Mobile G1 To Get Android OS Upgrade?
        AndroidSpin, an Android focused news site, has reported that the very first Android based smartphone, the T-Mobile G1, will be getting an over-the-air update.

        This will upgrade its software with Android 2.0 or possibly Android 2.1, which incidentally is the operating system of soon-to-launch Nexus One also know as the Google Phone.


      • First android-based tablet pc for india
        Notion Ink, a Hyderabad-based technology start-up, has developed the first touchscreen tablet which uses Google’s open source operating system Android, Nvidia’s yet-to-be launched Tegra processor chips and a power-saving display screen from the US-based fabless developer Pixel Qi.


      • Notion Ink develops India's first touchscreen Tablet PC
        Breaking News! Notion Ink, a Hyderabad-based company, has developed the first touchscreen Tablet PC, which uses Google's Android Open Source Operating system. The tablet PC was developed by six IITians and an MBA. It will be displayed at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January 2010.










Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Versions of Five Games You Loved as a Kid
    If you've got some free time on your hands this holiday season, check out these open source versions of popular games you grew up playing. They're loads of fun, but don't blame us if they make you a little nostalgic.


  • 26C3: GSM hacking made easy
    On Sunday 27th of December at the 26th Chaos Communication Congress (26C3) in Berlin, security researchers published open source instructions for cracking the A5/1 mobile telephony encryption algorithm and for building an IMSI catcher that intercepts mobile phone communication.


  • Open Source E-Commerce: Winners and Losers in 2009
    For the last year we have compiled monthly statistics on the top Open Source eCommerce programs, including several free or nearly-free proprietary programs that are sold for less than some OSC programs. "Open Source" means free to look at and to modify, not free of cost: about half of the top OSC programs reviewed are sold for a fee.


  • MyYearbook Speeds Web Responses
    McObject's eXtremeDB is based on its open source system, Perst. Perst is designed to be embedded in Java, Java ME, and Microsoft .Net applications. The ExtremeDB commercial version of Perst comes in a high availability version that includes transaction logging.

    MyYearbook.com, an early user of eXtremeDB, was launched in 2005. It is also a user of the open source PostgreSQL system for relational database work, Harris said.


  • 5 ways to misunderstand Free and Open Source Software.
    2. Innovation is killed in free software. The common perception is that if everyone can copy ideas, innovation will be stifled. In fact, freedom is often the key to innovative and successful software.

    * Anyone is allowed and encouraged to work upon it; * Many people are willing to participate; * There is no need to re-invent everything, ideas can be improved upon directly.

    Non-proprietary software stands out in many areas: consider, to name just a few:

    * Applications: Firefox (web browser), Inkscape (vector drawing). * Complete systems: Apache (web server), OpenBSD (os), and of course, GNU/Linux. * Formats and protocols: HTML (web pages), BitTorrent (file sharing), ODF (office documents). * Server applications: Drupal (Content Management System), Wordpress (blog).




  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6 hits ice - won't show up till Spring
      Mozilla has delayed the release of Firefox 3.6 until the first quarter of 2010.


    • Firefox Roadmap: A Look at Versions 3.6 to 4.0
      About two weeks ago, it became clear the final version of Firefox 3.6 would be pushed back to early 2010 . And we've known since September that Firefox 4.0 wouldn't ship until late 2010 -- although according to Mozilla's most recent meeting notes 4.0 may be pushed back to early 2011. But while we wait for the official versions of these browsers to come out, let's take a look at what's in store for the world's second-most popular browser.








  • Fog Computing

    • How the cloud could conquer the world in 2010
      Technologies such as virtualization that underlie Amazon EC2, along with open source software like MemcacheD used heavily by Facebook and other large web-shops, have been important enablers of cloud services.


    • Sun Microsystems opts for open source security for the cloud
      Rather than offer the applications to clients and leaving them to get on with the task of integrating them with cloud services, however, Sun is customising the software to work with mainstream cloud service providers such as Amazon and Eucalyptus.








  • Databases

    • Monty launches last-ditch bid to block Oracle deal
      MySQL co-creator Michael "Monty" Widenius has launched a web campaign to try and prevent Oracle from gaining ownership of the open source database which is part of the properties it acquired along with Sun Microsystems in April.


    • Monty launches frantic 'save MySQL' web campaign
      In a desperate last gasp bid to stop Oracle buying Sun Microsystems and its precious MySQL kit and kaboodle, the database's co-creator - Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius - has launched a campaign to "help keep the internet free."


    • The Quandary over Open Source Support
      If you’re like a lot of IT organizations, you’ve got servers from Hewlett-Packard, routers from Cisco, operating systems from Red Hat and Microsoft – and you may even have Solaris from Sun somewhere. For good measure let’s throw in a few databases from MySQL that occasionally take a virtual table or two from your SQL Server farms – and let’s not forget to mention the Oracle database that runs your CRM software. To top things off you’re running a slew of other open and closed source software that all together keeps your business running.








  • CMS





  • BSD

    • Why security gets no love
      There are other reasons to doubt the importance of a graphical installer as the big reason BSD Unix systems do not get the “love” that is heaped on Linux. The answer to why Linux gets more hype and attention is much more complex than that, and includes such concerns as marketing power — in large part because its community is full of people who will talk about how great it is without even understanding half of what they are saying. That is true of anything popular, and says nothing bad about Linux itself, of course.








  • Openness

    • What would my ideal school look like? Part 2
      Speaking of electronic texts, we’re talking open source here. If they don’t exist as Flexbooks or some other format that my teachers and students could easily use, then I want my teachers to be subject-matter experts who can generate open content. There, of course, is another dividend of corporate sponsorship: contribution to a growing store of high-quality educational content.


    • GENIVI Alliance to Demonstrate First Open Source-Based IVI Platform at International CES 2010
      The GENIVI Alliance, an automotive industry association driving the development and adoption of an open in-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) reference platform, will be demonstrating the initial implementation of the GENIVI 1.0 platform in Las Vegas during International CES 2010, January 7th - 10th.








Leftovers

  • Five Critical Flaws in the Senate Health Care Bill
    Of course, these aren't the only problems with the bill. Most glaringly, both the Senate and House bill would leave millions uninsured,6 a far cry from the vision of universal coverage so many of us have fought for. That remains a long-term goal.


  • Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk
    'Tis the season for predictions, so "Information Age" bravely goes out on this limb: Most technology predictions for 2010 won't come true. The more we learn about how innovation happens, the less straight the lines of advance look.

    "Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments," said Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus in 10 A.D. This end-of-progress view has been echoed many times, including by Charles Duell, commissioner for the U.S. Patent Office, who in 1899 said, "Everything that can be invented has already been invented."


  • The Future of Unix Standards: Unix 10?
    For the last 40 years, Unix operating systems have helped to power mission-critical IT operations around the globe. Now, as Unix enters middle age, its backers are busily developing the new specifications that they hope will carry the OS forward into the next age of computing.


  • How Facebook is struggling to lay out Zuckerberg's vision
    I spoke to a number of people quoted in the article, but I thought it was also worth sharing at length what Chris Messina, a designer and open source advocate, told me.




  • Security

    • U.S. Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged
      U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.








  • Environment

    • Blame Denmark, not China, for Copenhagen failure
      It's been several days since the chaotic end to the Copenhagen climate conference but the aftershocks from its failure are still reverberating. As John Prescott points out in his letter to the Guardian, the pointing of fingers in the blame game does not help the regaining of trust needed for the positive resumption of talks early next year and to complete them by December 2010, the new deadline agreed to in Copenhagen.


    • We cannot change the world by changing our buying habits
      The researchers call this the "licensing effect". Buying green can establish the moral credentials that license subsequent bad behaviour: the rosier your view of yourself, the more likely you are to hoard your money and do down other people.

      Then they took another bunch of students, gave them the same purchasing choices, then introduced them to a game in which they made money by describing a pattern of dots on a computer screen. If there were more dots on the right than the left they made more money. Afterwards they were asked to count the money they had earned out of an envelope.








  • Finance







  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Immaculate deception, part 2: Chemical industry front group calls for ban on bisphenol A
      Listen, and you’ll hear a spokesperson for the new Helena, MT, chapter of the Coalition for Chemical Safety being interviewed while handing out Coalition literature in the state capitol rotunda during an event organized by the chapter. She describes her concern as a mom over the use of BPA in kids’ products, and even criticizes the Food and Drug Administration's past reliance only on industry studies to conclude BPA is safe. You’ll also hear the reporter note that the Coalition wants to “ban BPA and other chemicals that could be harmful.”


    • FutureGen lobbying efforts continuing in Springfield
      Building an experimental power plant in Illinois isn’t just about finding land, erecting a facility and flipping a switch.

      Just as Illinois taxpayers were billed more than $450,000 for Washington D.C.-based lobbying efforts to bring the high-tech, coal-fired FutureGen facility to Mattoon, the FutureGen Alliance is now spending money to lobby state lawmakers and the Quinn administration in Springfield.

      Their task: Convince the state to buy all the electricity the plant produces. Such a move would help FutureGen secure federal funding needed to build the near zero-emissions plant.


    • Health Lobby Takes Fight to the States
      Like about a dozen other states, Florida is debating a proposed amendment to its state constitution that would try to block, at least symbolically, much of the proposed federal health care overhaul on the grounds that it tramples individual liberty.








  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Canada Successfully Destroys Parody Websites
      The government of Canada has used strong-arm tactics to shut down two parody websites criticizing Canada's poor environmental policy, taking down 4500 other websites in the process.

      The two websites, "enviro-canada.ca" and "ec-gc.ca", are "directly connected to a hoax which misleads people into believing that the Government of Canada will take certain actions in relation to environmental matters," wrote Mike Landreville from Environment Canada in an email to the German Internet Service Provider (ISP) Serverloft. "We trust you appreciate the importance of avoiding confusion among the public concerning Canadian governmental affairs and that you will assist us in preventing this hoax from spreading further."


    • Court orders three H-1B sites disabled
      A New Jersey judge has ordered the shutdown of three H-1B opposition Web sites and seeks information about the identity of anonymous posters.

      On Dec. 23, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge James Hurley ordered firms that register domains and provide hosting services -- GoDaddy Inc., Network Solutions, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. and DiscountASP.Net, to disable the three sites, ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com. Facebook Inc. was also ordered to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page.


    • Wikileaks suspends ops to launch pledge drive
      The whistle blowing site is taking time out until 6 January to ask for support in many forms, not just donations. Wikileaks is appealing for help from volunteer coders, offers of free legal assistance and hosting support as well as cash donations. The site has promised not to accept corporate or government finance in order to protect its integrity.


    • Russia to prosecute YouTube police whistleblower
      A former policeman who accused senior officers of corruption in a series of video blogs will himself face prosecution for abuse of office, Russian investigators said on Monday.

      Former police major Alexei Dymovsky became a household name in Russia earlier this year when he used YouTube to appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to tackle corruption in the police force.

      A criminal case will be brought against Dymovsky for "fraud committed by a person using his official position," the Prosecutor-General's investigative committee said in a statement. It gave no further details.










Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 15 (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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