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Links 14/7/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Preview



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux





  • Kernel Space

  • Applications/Distros

    • 11 of the Best Free Linux Bibliography Tools
      Bibliographic software (also known as citation software or reference managers) plays a very important role in research. This type of software helps research to be published more quickly. Researchers amass a huge collection of bibliographic references which are pertinent to their field of research, and they need to cite relevant references in their published journal articles.


    • Master the Terminal With the Z Shell
      The Z Shell, zsh, is an advanced command interpreter for Linux and other Unix like operating systems. As a systems administrator, I've found that I spend almost all of my time in the shell, so spending some time customizing my environment really pays off. I started out on the Korn shell, ksh, and then moved on to bash, where I stayed for many years until discovering zsh. The list of features supported by zsh takes up several pages, but I have two favorites.


    • Simple Time Saving Scripts


    • Two Apps That Make Backup Less Chore, More Lifesaver
      Proper backups can mean the difference between a data disaster and a minor inconvenience. You don't have to go to your file manager to drag and drop every bit of info you want to protect, though -- there's software to automate the process. Deja Dup and LuckBackup are two apps made just for that purpose -- one for people who want to store the backup data locally, one for those who'd rather save off-site.


    • My Favorite 4 RSS Feed Reader Applications For Ubuntu
      A quick collection of my favorite RSS feed reader applications for Ubuntu desktop. Even though it is totally out of place in my Gnome desktop, Akregator is my favorite among the lot. But after exploring a bit further, I found feed readers like Yarssr really good and easy to use. So here is my list of favorite 4 feed reader applications for Ubuntu.


    • 8 Free Linux BitTorrent Clients For linux users
      BitTorrent is an open source peer-to-peer file protocol for sharing large software and media files. It is a well established protocol which accounts for a significant proportion of internet traffic. Many Linux companies rely on BitTorrent as a key method of distributing their software, relieving the bandwidth burden on their servers. Downloads get faster when there are lots of users downloading and sharing at once. So to provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 polished Linux BitTorrent clients. Hopefully,We think the software presented here represents the big players, and a wide range of interfaces and features.


    • Python Audio Tools, for the audio perfectionist
      Back in 2003, Minnesota developer Brian Langenberger began creating a set of labor-saving audio tools to convert FLAC files to MP3 files, MP3 files to WAV files, and other simple operations that were tiresome to do by hand. “They were for my own personal use, and limited in scope for a long time,” he recalls. But in 2006 Langenberger discovered the Construct Python library, which makes parsing and building binary files simple. “As my tools started to get more capable, I started to feel they were something other people might get some use out of.” In July 2007 he released the first public version of Python Audio Tools.





    • Instructionals





    • Reviews

      • Spotlight on Linux: Pardus Linux 2009.2
        Pardus Linux is one of those distributions that doesn't get the attention it probably deserves. Pardus makes a wonderful desktop system for those that prefer ease of use. Available as an install image or live CD, it ships with lots of great applications, multimedia support, and browser plugins.

        The installer is as easy to use as any in Linux today. It's your basic wizard-type, asking just a few questions before beginning. Users can choose between automatic or manual partitioning, but no package selection is necessary. Upon boot of the new Pardus system, a configuration wizard will appear allowing users to configure their mouse, set up themes and wallpapers, configure the network, use Smolt, and configure update and package preferences.

        [...]

        Advantages include an easy and attractive installer, complete system out of the box, and handy migration and customizing wizards. Disadvantages are harder to find, but perhaps their repositories aren't as fully populated as some other distros. Otherwise, Pardus deserves its place right along side of other greats like Linux Mint, SimplyMepis, or PCLinuxOS.






    • New Releases

      • SystemRescueCd 1.5.6
        Gparted is a graphical tool for creating, deleting and copying partitions. Partimage is a tool that backs up entire partitions to a file on another disk. It's about as a foolproof and complete a backup as you could make of a system partition, and if you've got the space, I'd recommend doing this before problems crop up. PhotoRec is a tool for the recovery of lost media such as photo, video and music data. It's designed to work with a variety of media such as memory cards and PDAs and phones. ClamAV is an anti-virus program that can scan Windows file systems.


      • Parted Magic 5.0 Released, Powered by Linux Kernel 2.6.34.1
        Patrick Verner announced a few minutes ago (July 12th) the immediate availability of the new and major version of his popular Parted Magic operating system. Parted Magic 5.0 comes now with Linux kernel 2.6.34.1, GParted 0.6.1, Xorg Server 1.7.7, support for the French, German, Norwegian, Italian, Russian and Brazilian languages, a few updated packages, as well as some bug fixes and improvements. Parted Magic is an operating system created to help users easily partition their hard drives or perform various recovery tasks.




    • Fedora

      • Fedora 14 Theme Preview
        At last week’s design team meeting, we made a decision about the direction of the overall theme for Fedora 14′s artwork, which will affect – among other things – the default wallpaper. We decided on Kyle Baker’s submission, a Blender-created mockup depicting many lines coming together to form a solid figure, to serve as the basis of the visual concept of Fedora 14.






    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • 5 things to look forward to in Ubuntu 10.10
        Maverick Meerkat, the version of Ubuntu slated to be released later this year, brings with it several features and improvements that the Linux community has been eagerly looking forward to. I’ve taken a look at the blueprints for this next release, and picked out a few of the major items that Linux end-users will be interested in. Here are 5 things to look forward to in Ubuntu 10.10:

        1. Software Center enhancements

        A major focus of Ubuntu 10.10 is improving the software center, addressing many of the usability problems that have been sources of complaints in the past. Among these changes are: * Better Search

        I’ve heard this complaint quite a bit, including in the comments of my article covering things new Linux users need to know.


      • Ubuntu 10.10 Will Have a Revamped Installer
        Last week, we had the pleasure of talking to Evan Dandrea, Software Engineer on the Foundations Team at Canonical, about the upcoming installer of the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) operating system. Evan Dandrea is the creator of the Migration Assistant functionality in the Ubuntu installer (Ubiquity) and also co-maintainer of Ubiquity and maintainer of the USB Startup Disk Creator application.










  • Devices/Embedded

    • MeeGo keynote address at Akademy 2010
      To say you are "redefining the Linux desktop landscape" is a bold claim to make. It is even bolder when presenting a non-KDE project at the annual conference of KDE, one of the leading providers of desktop Linux software. However, that was exactly how Valtteri Halla, Director of Nokia MeeGo Software chose to title his keynote address.






Free Software/Open Source

  • Happy birthday, Open Source - you're legal now
    Today is a landmark in open source history, the unofficial birthday of the movement. On this day, in 1992, version 0.1 of 386BSD (you might know it as Jolix) was released.

    Now, some might say March was the true birthdate, as that was the original release of 386BSD, version 0.0. Others point to Unix as laying the true foundation for Linux, which many credit for truly launching the open source revolution.


  • What FOSS communities can look like from the outside




  • Business

    • SugarCRM 6 Debuts with Open Source and Commercial Features
      After four months of beta availability and testing, SugarCRM today officially announced the general availability of its Sugar 6 CRM customer relationship management platform. Sugar 6 includes an open source community edition as well as commercially licensed professional and enterprise editions.

      With Sugar 6, SugarCRM is expanding its partnership base with enhanced extensibility that enables partner solutions. There is a new user interface that aims to make CRM users more productive with fewer keystrokes. While the Sugar 6 solution has open source technology at its core, users that download the open source community edition will get a different interface than users of the commercial professional and enterprise editions. For SugarCRM, the issue of being an open source company is all about being open to users.

      "As an open source project, we've given people a lot, and Community edition has helped us to get where we are today," Martin Schneider, senior director of communications at SugarCRM, told InternetNews.com.


    • Has SugarCRM Violated Open Source Principles?
      The argument that SugarCRM is involved with now is very similar to the one that surrounds open core, where parts of an otherwise purely open project are not so open, with commercial interests driving the hybrid approach. Our own John Mark Walker wrote an interesting essay on open core here. And I defended the open core approach here.








  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Open source celebrity to visit Oz
      Stallman also founded the associated Free Software Foundation in the mid-1980's and is the original author of a bunch of popular software projects — such as the Emacs text editor (although it does far more than that) and the GNU Compiler Collection.

      The Australian Computer Society has a listing on its events page detailing Stallman's talk planned at UNSW's Clancy Auditorium on Monday, 11 October, from 6pm. The event is being supported by National ICT Australia.






  • Project Releases





  • Government

    • UK government workers say dump Microsoft for open source
      USE OPEN SOURCE is UK government officials' answer to Prime Minister David Cameron's request for ideas to cut expenses, suggesting that the civil service stop buying Microsoft software in favour of free alternatives.

      Last month Cameron asked more than a half million UK government workers for cost-cutting suggestions to help trim Britain's looming fiscal deficit. Over 56,000 ideas were submitted and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne published a sample of them on Friday 9 July.








  • Openness/Sharing

    • Author Puts Novel Online For Free... And Gets A Book Deal


    • Bitcoin P2P Cryptocurrency
      Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network based digital currency. Peer-to-peer (P2P) means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network. Advantages:

      * Transfer money easily through the Internet, without having to trust middlemen. * Third parties can’t prevent or control your transactions. * Bitcoin transactions are practically free, whereas credit cards and online payment systems typically cost 1-5% per transaction plus various other merchant fees up to hundreds of dollars. * Be safe from the instability caused by fractional reserve banking and bad policies of central banks. The limited inflation of the Bitcoin system’s money supply is distributed evenly (by CPU power) throughout the network, not monopolized by the banks.




    • Open Data





    • Open Hardware

      • ACTA briefing by De Gucht in the European Parliament
        This blog is the infoHQ for an open source hardware conference that we, Bug Labs, MakerFaire and littleBits will be hosting in NYC on September 23 called the Open Hardware Summit. We are incredibly excited by the opportunity to make it happen and look forward to telling you all about it.

        When I was growing up, Popular Science was my favorite magazine and Heathkits were my favorite toy. Building, modding, breaking, creating things in a haze of solder smoke pretty much defines a good portion of my childhood. In fact, I’m convinced that one of the reasons I got into college is I was able to show off the polyphonic synthesizer I designed and built using scrap parts from the Moog factory down the street. Hardware was fun.










  • Programming





Leftovers

  • Point and click GUIs: why are we still stuck with them?
    Even a good smartphone can make the PC feel clumsy; I often prefer reading emails on mine. Replying to them is out of the question, but as a viewing device it's very pleasant and provides temporary relief from what is becoming an overly familiar and oppressive desktop computing experience.


  • Gadgets and conflict minerals: tech companies can do more to avoid enabling human rights abuses in DRC
    Global Witness has issued a report with guidance for gadget makers on how to avoid supporting violence and human rights abuses when sourcing minerals from "conflict sources."


  • Google Says That Employees Change Search Rankings
    I've known about this for several years but wasn't able to get anyone from Google on the record. These Google employees have the power to promote or even completely erase a site from the Google index.

    This admission is potentially a very large problem for Google because it has maintained that its index rankings are unbiased and are computed from a natural pecking order derived from how other sites find a specific site important.

    The Google algorithm is a mathematical expression drawing on the PageRank patented method (named after Larry Page, co-founder). It counts how many links to a web site come from other web sites and determines the importance of that web site for millions of search terms. These rankings are worth huge amounts of money to many web sites and changes in rankings can put companies out of business.


  • Early Tests Pin Toyota Accidents on Drivers
    The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that the throttles were wide open and the brakes weren't engaged at the time of the crash, people familiar with the findings said.


  • If We Ban Violent Video Games, Why Not Violent Theme Park Attractions?
    I’m hoping to get some input from readers as I look to finish up an amicus brief for the forthcoming Schwarzenegger v. EMA video game case. (Respondent briefs are due in mid-Sept and the State of California just filed its brief with the Court today). You will recall that the Supreme Court accepted the case for review in April, meaning it will be the first major case regarding video game speech rights heard by our nation’s highest court. It raises questions about the First Amendment status of games and what rights minors have to buy or play “violent” video games. One section I hope to include in the brief I’m working on deals with how other forms of media content are increasingly intertwined with video game content. In it, I explain how video games are less of a discreet category of visual entertainment than they once were. I’d welcome ideas for other examples to use relative to the ones you see below.




  • Science

    • Antidepressants in the water are making shrimp suicidal
      Improving human mental health is having some serious unintended consequences for our friends in the ocean. Exposure to antidepressants makes shrimp five times more likely to place themselves in life-threatening situations, and the broader effects could damage the entire ecosystem.








  • Security/Aggression

    • Barefoot Bandit’s 2-year run from law is over
      The teenage “Barefoot Bandit” who allegedly stole cars, boats and airplanes to dodge U.S. law enforcement was nabbed Sunday as he tried to make a water escape then brought handcuffed — and shoeless — to the capital to face justice, abruptly ending his two-year life on the lam.






  • Environment

    • The Food Bubble
      In 2008, the soaring cost of basic foods sparked riots and civil unrest across many of the poorest countries in the world. At first it was thought that food production wasn't keeping pace with an exploding world population, or that the large scale production of bio-fuels was a factor, or the rising cost of oil which increased the cost of fertilisers. But an analysis by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation revealed that the year before, grain harvests were at record levels, and that there was more than enough food to feed everybody in the world. So could this happen again?








  • Finance

    • Seduced by Data in the Financial Industry
      In the last decades of the 20th Century, Wall Street developed what they thought were sophisticated statistical tools that allowed them to accurately estimate the riskiness of complex portfolios without firsthand knowledge of the underlying assets. For example, as banks got larger, they increasingly relied on numerical standards like income and credit scores, rather than more subjective personal factors, to decide which loans to approve. This made a certain amount of sense because as banks got larger, it became more important to have consistent standards across the organization.


    • Ludwig von Mises and the Magic of Financial Reports
      Financial results are also difficult to interpret because firms operate in a dynamic and unpredictable marketplace. Suppose a company’s widget division lost money last quarter. One plausible explanation is that the guy in charge of the widget division was incompetent and should be replaced. But there are other possibilities. Maybe the price of widgets collapsed, and the widget division would have lost even more money if not for the hard work of its management. Or maybe the division’s expenses are up because it’s spending money on developing an improved widget that will sell like hotcakes next quarter. There’s no way to distinguish among these cases (or many others) simply by examining the company’s books. You have to actually spend time understanding the business and its place in the larger marketplace.






  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • China's plan to use internet for propaganda
      The Chinese Communist Party has detailed its ambitious but secretive strategy for transforming the internet into a force for keeping it in power and projecting ''soft power'' abroad.

      An internal speech by China's top internet official, apparently posted by accident on an official internet site before being promptly removed, outlines a vast array of institutions and methods to control opinion at home and also ''create an international public opinion environment that is objective, beneficial and friendly to us''.


    • China Green Dam web filter teams 'face funding crisis'
      Reports from China say a controversial government-backed software project to filter internet content could be on the brink of collapse.

      State media said the developer behind the Green Dam Youth Escort software had closed its Beijing project team because of a lack of government funding.


    • New Massachusetts law extends censorship to IM, e-mail, Web
      It has long been illegal in Massachusetts to provide minors with "matter harmful to minors" under the state's "Crimes against chastity, morality, decency, and good order" law. The law targets obscenity, but only its physical forms, which makes it easier to enforce. When little Johnny steps inside the adult video store, clerks can check his ID before selling him that DVD of industrial sexuality. And anyone trying show hardcore porn to a 13-year old knows exactly what they're doing, and who they're doing it to.


    • Italy: UN rights expert calls for scrapping of draft wiretapping law
      An Italian draft law on surveillance and eavesdropping for criminal investigations could jeopardize the work of journalists and threaten their freedom of expression, a United Nations independent human rights expert said today, calling for the abolition or revision of the bill.

      According to the current draft, anyone not accredited as a professional journalist can be imprisoned for up to four years for recording any communication or conversation without the consent of the person involved and for publicizing that information.


    • U.S. eavesdropping agency says Private Citizen is purely R&D
      A contract has been awarded for research to help counter computer-based threats to national-security networks, the chief U.S. code-cracking and eavesdropping agency said, amid mounting concern over cyber vulnerabilities.


    • Colombian journalist denied entry into US
      The Obama Administration has denied Colombian journalist Hollman Morris entry into the United States, citing violation of the "terrorist activities" section of the USA's Patriot Act. Morris was attempting to obtain a visa to attend Harvard University's Nieman Program, which is a fellowship for journalists.


    • Child protection campaigners claim hollow victory over Facebook
      Child safety campaigners are claiming victory over Facebook in their battle to publish a "panic button" on the dominant social network, but the agreed system falls short of their original demands in one crucial aspect.


    • Blizzard Changes ID Plans After Privacy Outcry
      Activision Blizzard abandons plans to take anonymity away from users of its online forums for computer games because of an outcry over user privacy.


    • Wikileaks Cash Flows In, Drips Out
      Fulda said Wikileaks can’t depend indefinitely on drastic measures, such as taking down the site, to raise funds. Nor can it depend on receiving a constant stream of high-profile submissions, like the Iraq video, to bring it attention and entice donations. Ultimately, it will need to find a new model for funding to sustain itself.








  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM







  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Who Owns the Korean Taco?




    • Copyrights

      • UK Newspapers Point Out That Prince's Anti-Internet Crusade Makes No Sense
        We've already discussed Prince's bizarre anti-internet stance, and it seems that it's left an awful lot of people scratching their heads. As his latest album was released only via the UK newspaper, The Mirror, this past Saturday, the UK press is pointing out how this plan will backfire. Now, some will immediately dismiss these articles as complaints from competing newspapers who were not the go to offering for the latest Prince album. But their arguments do make sense. The Telegraph points out that, this anti-internet crusade seems like a huge commercial blunder, as most people will end up getting the album in ways that don't benefit Prince directly, even though he easily could have set things up to gain some of the benefit.


      • The ASCAP example: How news organizations could liberate content, skip negotiations, and still get paid


      • Geo-Blocking Sites a Business Rather Than Legal Issue
        The Internet was once viewed as a "borderless" world that had little regard for the physical location of users. That sentiment likely seems outdated today to many Canadian Internet users who have grown accustomed to clicking on links for audio or video services only to be advised that the content, site or service is not available in their area.

        My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that "geo-blocking" has become standard practice among broadcasters, sports leagues, and music services that use technologies to identify the likely location of an Internet user in real-time and block the content in some circumstances. From World Cup broadcasts to Hulu.com (a popular U.S. video site) to Spotify (a European music service), Canadians often find themselves unable to access content and unsure who is to blame.


      • Judge Says Damages In Tenenbaum Case Were 'Unconstitutionally Excessive'
        As you probably recall, the judge in the Thomas case reduced the $1.92 million award to $54,000 (or $2,250 per song) and today comes the news that Judge Gertner in the Tenenbaum case has declared the original damages award to be "unconstitutionally excessive" and slashed the total by 90% down to $67,500.


      • Should the Music Industry Pay ISPs for Piracy?
        In the wake of its “success” in pushing through Digital Economy Act, the British music industry is hoping to move on to the next stage: using it as a lever to get more money out of the system (even though the music industry is currently thriving).

        The UK royalties collector PRS For Music has just published a rough blueprint [.pdf] for how this might be done, entitled: “Moving Digital Britain Forward, without leaving Creative Britain behind”. It's a fascinating document, and merits close reading.


      • ASCAP's Dust-Up With Creative Commons Borders On the Ridiculous
        The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has, for a long time now, failed to realize that music and other artistic works need new business models surrounding them, not lobbyists and lawsuits. That's why it's a shame to be seeing them targeting Creative Commons, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other organizations that ASCAP sees as defenders of the "copyleft" movement. The language found in a new letter supporting ASCAP's Legislative Fund for the Arts (ALFA) tells the whole story.


      • RIAA: Lime Wire hid cash to avoid paying damages
        In court papers last week, the Recording Industry Association of America once again asked the court to freeze Lime Wire's and Gorton's assets. The trade group for the four largest record companies alleged in a copyright complaint filed in 2006 that Gorton had for five years placed his assets in a trust that he, his wife, and two children control in an attempt to put the money out of reach of any court.


      • Second salon hit with fine to play radio
        A second Preston hairdresser has been hit with a bill for having a radio on while giving customers a cut.

        Sarah Shaw, who lives on Birkdale Drive, Savick, received a bill for €£341.34 from music royalties collector Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) for playing the radio in her salon on the estate and then, just three days later, got hit with a €£170.68 fine for failing to pay.


      • Looking More Closely At Judge Gertner's Constitutional Analysis Of Copyright Awards In Tenenbaum Case
        In it, she clearly explains why the Constitutional analysis was necessary (she could have just reduced the award using the remittitur process, but noted that the RIAA made it clear they would challenge such a ruling, and thus it would eventually come around to the Constitutional questions no matter what.


      • RIAA boss Bainwol paid $2 million in 2008
        No wonder RIAA boss Mitch ‘The Don’ Bainwol is smiling in the pic on the right.

        According to IRS figures, in 2007 he was paid $1,485,000 for his services. But by 2008, the amount had rocketed — to $2,032,072, to be exact.


      • Yet More Lawyers Jump on Turn Piracy Into Profit Bandwagon
        As the U.S. struggles with the prospect that thousands of file-sharers will receive threatening letters in the now-famous Hurt Locker lawsuit case, over the pond in the UK there is a continuing escalation of the ‘turn piracy into profit’ bandwagon. A new firm of lawyers has entered the market and while their business model appears identical, they are attempting to sugar-coat their actions.




      • ACTA/Three Strikes

        • ACTA briefing by De Gucht in the European Parliament
          This week, the European Commission conducted two briefings for members of the European Parliament.

          On Monday, July 12, members of the European Parliament's INTA Committee (Committee on International Trade) were briefed by EU ACTA negotiators Luc Devigne and Pedro Valesco in a private, closed meeting.


        • French legislators have second thoughts on three strikes law
          Are the French legislators who passed the country's tough new "three strikes" Internet disconnection law having second thoughts? Le Figaro caught up last week with Jean-François Copé, a leading member of the ruling right-leaning UMP party that wrote and supported the "Création et Internet" law passed last year. Copé helped rally support for the bill after it failed its first vote in the National Assembly because most UMP deputies had actually left the chamber without voting.


        • New ACTA leak: 2010 07 13 consolidated text (Luzern round)
          Here is the full consolidated text of the ACTA agreement, dated July 1st 2010. This is the full text from the Luzern round of negotiations, including the name of the negotiating parties along with their positions. It apparently comes from the civil liberties committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament.








      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Lords set sights on Digital Economy Act review
          The Digital Economy Act could be reviewed by the House of Lords next year, if peers are given the right to scrutinise legislation after it has been passed into law.

          On Monday, the leader of the House of Lords, Lord Strathclyde, announced a review of the house's working practices that includes a proposal to give peers powers of post-legislative scrutiny. Legislation in the United Kingdom generally gets examined by the Lords before it goes to the Commons, which in turn passes it into law.
















Clip of the Day



CLUG Talk - 12 Feb 2008 - UPSs (apcupsd and nut) (2008)

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