Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 25/9/2010: GNU/Linux in British Government, Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0 is Out

GNOME bluefish



  • GCHQ spooks top UK Linux installations
    The largest installation of Linux desktops in any British Government site is at GCHQ, the high-tech spy-station in Cheltenham, according to industry sources.

    Whispers in the courtly corridors around Westminster, the seat of British government, have it that British intelligence uses Linux because it is secure, good at number crunching, and doesn't cost much to deploy.


    Another relatively big British Linux site is the Met Office, which monitors the weather. Number crunchers prefer Linux, say open source advocates, and that is why the UK's private sector has been slow to catch onto it: the bleeding-edge Web 2.0 businesses that install enough Linux machines to actually support a supply-side industry simply don't exist in the UK.

    Take Ubuntu, the blend of Linux touted by Canonical, that rare of rare beasts: a company that not only makes money out of Linux but is based in the UK. The largest known private sector installation of Ubuntu, across a respectable 21,000 machines, is in California. The site is Google, though that's hush-hush as well.

    Things are, however, about to change. And for three reasons. The Liberal Democrats, traditionally the political party for people who wear socks and sandals – the natural Linux party – have taken power as one half of the British coalition Government. The other reason is that there is emerging across the board a generation of politicians who simply “get it”, as they say in the open source trade.

  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 166 - Narwhals in Your Head
      The Linux Outlaws are back with a new site, a new server, awesome music, a recap of the most important Linux and F/OSS topics of the last few weeks and a load of your feedback.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Running An Encrypted LVM In Ubuntu 10.10

    • Tracking Weekly Enterprise Linux News & Trends
      In an effort to capture notable enterprise Linux news and trends, The Linux Foundation will be surfacing some of the important milestones and announcements for enterprise Linux each week. We hope this is useful to our members and to the community and we welcome your feedback and additions to these highlights in the comments section.

    • Graphics Stack

      • CUDA support in OpenCV announced at GTC
        At the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, NVIDIA announced that the Open Source Computer Vision (OpenCV) library, which includes image processing algorithms, will, from the start of next year, be able to utilise the computing power of NVIDIA GPUs by making use of CUDA GPU acceleration.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok Insider - Issue 15

      • David Faure
        Can you tell us what you do for KDE? KDE developer since 1998, maintainer of Konqueror and large portions of the KDE libraries. In addition to development (mostly bugfixing, occasionally new features), I review many patches from others, and help people with specific development questions on IRC. As such a long-time contributor to KDE, people often come to me with questions about why things in kdelibs were done in a certain way, so despite my usually bad memory, I end up playing the role of the "memory of the project" a little bit :) Old-timer joke: Radej's beer wasn't cold while he wrote kmenubar...

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Beta Testers On GNOME 2.30, Making Progress
        Lots of things keeping me busy, but making excellent progress on building a new server to run 64bit OpenSuse 11.3 and GNOME 2.30. Now that gdm is working with XDMCP, I was able to get the logins working. Halfline (thanks!) once again helped me with turning off the animations that were displaying when the authentication screen appears and also then as it goes away and the users wallpaper appears. This type of animation is too slow over remote display, and caused you to have to wait while the screen blinked multiple times. I'm sure it looks great on a local video card, but not suitable for here and not needed in a business/work environment.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel 4.0 LTS Is Based on Ubuntu 10.04
        Rubén Rodríguez has announced the release Trisquel 4.0 LTS, an Ubuntu-based derivative which uses only free software. The major goal of Trisquel is to have a pure, 100 percent free distro based on the popular Ubuntu.

      • Trisquel 4.0 LTS "Taranis" strikes!
        As our special way to celebrate Software Freedom Day, we are pleased to announce that Trisquel 4.0 LTS, codename "Taranis" -the Celtic god of thunder- is ready for download. It is our second Long Term Support release, and it is a sweet one! It comes in the usual GNOME flavor and with a light LXDE based environment in the shape of the new "Mini" edition. Netinstall images are also available for servers and custom installations. Soon we will also add an international DVD with a big translation set -the standard images contain complete support for English and Spanish- and educational and professional oriented environments as well.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS vs. Ubuntu - or - Linux XXX vs. Linux YYY
        This blog post was actually written as a comment to my previous post about PCLinuxOS, in answer to a question posted in the comments there. It quickly exceeded the length limit for comments here, so I have moved it to its own blog posting. I hope that is considered a fair move, because the subject matter can actually be extended from the original question of PCLinuxOS compared to Ubuntu, to the more general question of comparing two different Linux distributions.

      • Mandriva and Mageia: two open roads
        Then, suddenly, the fog of gloom that had been encircling the whole Mandriva/Mageia business vanished. To be honest, I was getting worried about what distro to use if Mandriva plummeted when I first heard the news about the company's financial woes. This apparently unsubstantiated worry cannot be understood unless one has suffered enough with Windows and happens to find a Linux distro that resembles his or her "ideal OS". That was my case with Mandriva.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • No, we are not infringing any licenses
          Nobody on the Ubuntu One team commented on any of his blog posts either. Ampache seems like a nice piece of software and even some people on the Ubuntu One team use it.

        • LC Brazil: Consumers, experts, or admins?
          Jane Silber is the (relatively) new CEO at Canonical; she went to Brazil to deliver a keynote on the "consumerization of IT" and, in particular, its implications on open source. What she was really there to talk about, of course, was the interesting stuff that is being done with the Ubuntu distribution. Linux serves the needs of expert users very well, but, according to Jane, the future of Linux is very much in the hands of "consumers," so we need to shift our focus toward that user base. There are a number of things being done in the Ubuntu context to make that happen.

        • Faenza icon set gets a PPA
          Quick heads up to something I forgot to mention before – the very slick Faenza icon set now has a PPA, making it easy to stay up-to-date with the latest additions to the square-y icon set.

        • Ubuntu shows off new facial recognition interface technology
          This all-seeing eye future of interface seems to have stuck in the minds of the guys over at Canonical, who are demonstrating a Ubuntu prototype that uses facial recognition in coordination with other sensors to allow users to interact with PCs in new and intuitive ways.

        • Ubuntu Prototype Uses Facial Recognition to Interact With UI

        • Top Ubuntu (Linux) applications

        • Ubuntu 10.10: a meaningless release

        • Goodbye Ubuntu 9.04
          Dear Ubuntu 9.04 users, the time has come to say goodbye to the Jaunty Jackalope release of the popular Ubuntu operating system. One month from today, on October 23rd, it reaches end of life.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Moving To Open-Source Software
      With the typical cost of software accounting for 40% to 60% of an SoC, semiconductor OEMs are under more pressure than ever to meet margins. As a result, they are drawing on their ecosystem partners to provide a more complete foundation including hardware, software, FPGA prototypes, verification IP and virtual models, as well as an increasing demand for open source software support for their SoCs.

    • ARM and Trident link up on Cortex-A9 STB design
      Other forms of Linux are supported as well, with the help of the not-for profit firm Linaro, which is chartered to develop standardized open source software and tools for ARM Cortex processors. Linaro is said to be focusing on "the lower software layers" of the platform, providing "the best tools and Linux development experience on ARM, quickening the time to market for Linux," say the partners.

    • Linux networking software adds management interfaces
      IP Infusion and Tail-f Systems say they'll jointly develop packet-based, carrier-grade management solutions combining the former's Linux-based, carrier-grade ZebOS middleware with the latter's ConfD configuration software -- supporting CLI, web, SNMP, and Netconf management interfaces. Meanwhile, IP Infusion says that ZebOS is acting as the control and management plane software for Centec Networks' new Carrier Ethernet CTC6048 processor.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Hack Delivers a Linux Tablet for Under $200
        Hackers have created a sub $200 Linux-based tablet device, all thanks to a little tinkering with an Internet Media Display.

        The device used to create this basic tablet was the Insignia Infocast — a simple $170 Chumby-powered Linux media device that was originally designed to share pictures and display information from the Web.

      • First MeeGo tablet ships
        Neofonie-owned WeTab GmbH has shipped what appears to be the first MeeGo-based tablet, the 11.6-inch, Intel Atom N450-based WeTab, which is also said to be compatible with Android. Meanwhile, a super-light NFS N-Pad tablet prototype has popped up running Android on an Intel Atom N6xx ("Moorestown") processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • My Top 5 Favorite Free Software Programs
    Happy Software Freedom day!

    In celebration of it, I'll list the top 5 free software programs I use.

    * GNU Emacs Very powerful text editor. I do most of my tasks in it, specially using and developing Identica-mode. I recommend it a lot for other tasks other than programming in any language, like organizing your todos and schedule in org-mode. * KDE SC My desktop environment. A very customizable and very nice looking desktop manger. If you like customization and good looks, you'll like it.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • How and Why Chrome Is Overtaking Firefox Among Power Users
      Firefox has long been the go-to web browser among power users for its impressive feature set, extensibility, and openness. But Google's nimble, light, also extensible and open browser, Chrome, has won over Firefox's core user base.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Plans Firefox Home for Symbian
        Software company Mozilla is considering the release of a Symbian version of Firefox Home, thus making its solutions available on yet another mobile operating system out there, in addition to Android, iOS, Maemo or Windows Mobile.

        Mozilla developer Ragavan Srinivasan was the one to break the news on the matter, via a recent tweet calling for developers interested in the area to give a sign.

      • A photo tour of the Mozilla offices in Mountain View, California

      • Firefox 4.0 Removes The Statusbar But Adds A New Add-on Bar; New Stand-Alone Profile Manager On The Way
        Just when I though Firefox 4 is finally coming together, the latest Firefox 4 nightly brings a so called "Add-on bar" which is just like the old statusbar which Mozilla has been trying to deprecate with the recent changes (links and progress bar in the location bar), only bigger.

      • Firefox for Android Is Growing Up Fast
        This most recent nightly build of Firefox for Android fixes most of the performance issues. still doesn’t fare too well (probably our fault), but surfing the rest of the web is much more pleasant in the new Fennec. Scrolling and the pinch-zoom gesture are about as fast as Android’s stock WebKit browser. Page rendering is a touch slower in Fennec than in the Android browser, but we can expect that to improve.

        As with the previous releases, Fennec syncs up with your other versions of Firefox, so your history, Awesomebar searches, auto-fill form data and passwords will be the same as you move from desktop to mobile and back again throughout your day. Another cool feature is the unique side-to-side swipe action, which brings up menus for things like tabs, bookmarks and settings. It minimizes the browser chrome and leaves more screen real estate for web pages.

        Since taking a screenshot on the Nexus One is still a total chore, I shot this video of Fennec in action. Sorry about my massive thumbs.

      • Mozilla Seabird phone is full of good ideas
        If you want a phone today that will impress your friends and give you bags of functionality to play with, then there’s an iPhone or one of the many Android handsets from HTC. But in the future, I hope we have the option of using the Mozilla Seabird phone.

        The video above is for a concept phone created by Mozilla community member Billy May. It was Billy’s concept when Mozilla asked for ideas for an Open Web Concept Phone early last year. But he kept working on it to produce a phone that incorporates a number of new features that make a lot of sense and that no other phone currently has.

      • Mozilla Seabird agitates for better mobile phones
        Mozilla doesn't plan to build a mobile phone, but it's hoping a new labs project called the Seabird unveiled yesterday will spur others to improving the ever more important devices.


  • Project Releases

    • Oracle unveils open-source database MySQL 5.5 release candidate

      Oracle has unveiled MySQL 5.5 release candidate, an open-source database, which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), with enhancements in performance and scalability, availability and usability.

    • Codec 2

    • Ghostscript 9.0 supports ICC profiles

    • Ruby-in-Ruby Rubinius 1.1 released
      The BSD licensed release 1.1 is the first feature since May's release of 1.0, and includes performance improvements, better Ruby compatibility and bug fixes. The new features include, JIT block in-lining and a new GIL (Global Interpreter Lock) algorithm for better performance and reliability, support for dbm, sdbm and gdbm extensions and bad extension detection. A full list of new features and fixes is available in the 1.1 announcement.Ruby-in-Ruby Rubinius 1.1 released

    • PacketFence NAC 1.9.1 released
      The GPL licensed PacketFence 1.9.1 is considered ready for production use and is available for downloading from the PacketFence web site as source or RPMs for RHEL5. Installation, Administration and Developers guides are all available to download as PDF files.

  • Government

    • Get going already! On the dire state of Free Software and Open Standards in the UK’s public sector
      According to Mark Taylor of Sirius IT, 80% of government IT spending in the UK goes to only five companies. The comparable figures in the US are ca. 50%, and 20% in the Netherlands. This means that the UK’s market for IT services is enormously centralised, with very little competition. Or, as one speaker put it: “Proprietary software companies just love doing business here in the UK, because the margins are great.”

      The new government may just shake things up a bit, though mostly inadvertently so. To combat Britain’s massive deficit, government organisations are facing brutal budget cuts of about 30%, so everyone is currently scrambling to identify possible savings.

      While this might lead some IT departments to think about using more Free Software, the big stumbling block is the lack of an Open Standards policy. Without it, anyone attempting a desktop migration will continue to be affected by the lock-in of that blights the public sector.

    • It's time to turn on the ‘freedom'
      With software that creates federated web services, where data is not put on centralised servers but in dispersed virtual servers or even pocket servers, and the ‘Freedom Box' that allows lay users to run their own servers, the ‘Free Software' movement is on the right track. Dismissing those who decree the Free Software movement irrelevant, Moglen explains that the Free Software or GNU/Linux empowered ‘clients' against their masters by providing technically superlative alternatives to proprietary software. “We put the freedom in everything. Now is the time to build on this platform for free software to achieve social results. It's time to turn on the freedom.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Versus Individual Rights In Networked Culture
      It is true that the modes for executing and building a system are just as important as the systems goals, but should we consider the extensions of such a system beyond the Wikipedia community itself, for if this information often guides assumptions in everyday vernacular, how does the populist approach of Wikipedia subvert individual knowledge?

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Hardware: What's It All About?
        Open hardware is rapidly evolving from a curiosity to a sound business practice. As Phillip Torrone says, "Hardware seems to be in the same state software was in the 1980s; lots of commercial developers, very few open source developers (or like the 1970s when only a few had computers at all). We'd like to see the world of hardware when there are millions of developers." Now is an excellent time to dive in.

      • Bug Labs Open Source Hardware on Verizon's ODI
        Other developers that spoke with RWH indicated the major attraction of the "open" approach is the ability to gain access to hardware without the fear of certification woes by trying to build in 3G (or 4G). A common thread to this discussion was a desire to see if adding in sensors of various kinds was possible or how it might react in different types of network scenarios that were 3G networks or having a mix of Ethernet, WiFi, and 3G in an easily transported form factor.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open APIs bring business opportunities
      It's been argued that developers are increasingly becoming kingmakers in the software industry. The impact of this can be seen particularly in the middleware market, where software vendors have reconsidered pricing and source code availability in an effort to attract developers to their platforms. But vendors are by no means alone in courting developer interest. Luckily, enterprises seeking to attract developers to their platforms can learn valuable lessons from the software industry.


  • Pixel Qi touts power-saving display for seven-inch tablets
    Pixel Qi claims it will begin sampling a seven-inch transflective LCD for tablet devices by the end of this year, and deliver the display in quantity during the first half of 2011. First touted more than a year ago, the company's screens will offer both color and monochrome e-paper modes, and are said to require up to 80 percent less power of an ordinary display.

  • Marvell's tri-core ARM chip has near-PS3-level graphics
    Yesterday, Marvell announced a whopper of a processor—the ARMADA 628. While most of the coverage so far has focused on the three A9-class processor cores, the craziest feature of this chip is its on-die GPU. The 628's GPU can push 200 million triangles per second (MT/s); for some perspective, compare the Playstation 3's GPU at 250MT/s This GPU, plus the three Sheeva PJ4 cores, means that you can put console-caliber gaming performance—1080p graphics and all—in a handheld.

  • Study: Data Loss Affects Nearly One-Third of Enterprises
    Nearly one-third of organizations with more than 1,000 employees were affected by data loss events in the past 12 months, according to a study recently released by cloud-focused security firm Proofpoint.

  • VideoEgg acquires Movable Type blogging software
    Video advertising expert VideoEgg has purchased Six Apart, creator of the Movable Type blogging tool, for an undisclosed sum. VideoEgg comments on the acquisition on its web site, saying "The Six Apart team adds a ton of new skills and technology that will enable us to serve advertisers and publishers much more effectively". The merged companies will now operate under the name SAY Media.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Guest Post from Yves Smith: Goldman Sachs’ Glass Ceiling Remains Intact
      Three women filed a sex discrimination suit against Goldman seeking class action status. It has gotten some attention in the press and on the Web for not the best reasons, namely, the complaint recounts in some detail how one of the plaintiffs, Christina Chen-Oster, a convertible bonds sales rep, had had a colleague force himself on her after a business-related group outing to a strip club. When she reported it some time after the fact (the perp had asked her to keep it secret), she was increasingly ostracized and marginalized.

    • Another Ill-Informed Front Page Washington Post Editorial on Social Security
      The Washington Post ran another front page editorial calling for cuts to Social Security. The context was a discussion of the Republicans' "Pledge to America." The editorial complained that the plan did not include any concrete ways to deal with Social Security.

    • The GOP's 'Pledge to America': a closer look at the details
      Why they are proposing it: In two words, the tea party. Throughout last year, GOP lawmakers heard activists at town hall meetings asking repeatedly if they had read the entire health-care bill (which ran nearly 2,000 pages) and how Congress had the authority to pass it.

    • Anthony Weiner confronts Goldline
      Weiner grew red-faced while slamming Scott Carter, executive vice president of Goldline International, for inaccurately portraying the value of the gold coins the company sells to its customers, many of whom hear about the company from its ads on Fox News and conservative talk radio shows. Several of the ads include the show hosts themselves explaining why buying from Goldline is a good investment.

    • Dems try to deflect voter anger toward Wall Street
      Then she started bashing Wall Street and saying her opponent is in the pockets of bankers who want to repeal financial regulations.

      Now, less than a month before ballots are distributed in Washington's vote-by-mail election, Murray is apparently benefiting from some old-fashioned class warfare. She has gone from essentially being tied with challenger Dino Rossi to leading in the latest round of polls, proving that the 2010 Democratic campaign theme of linking the GOP to Wall Street greed can resonate with voters.

    • Volcker: Financial System Still at Risk
      Real Time Economics reports that former Fed Chair Paul Volcker ditched his prepared remarks at a Federal Reserve of Chicago event yesterday. In its stead, he opened fire on all of the corruption in banking and Wall Street.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Thailand activist arrested after #IAL2010 needs your support!
      Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai director was arrested at Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport. A Journalist and anti-censorship believer (@Jiew on twitter) was returning from the Conference “Internet at Liberty 2010: The Promise and Peril of Free Expression” held in Budapest.

      She leads an important news source for Thailand, a country with a growing record on internet censorship, as reported by OpenNet, human rights violations and actions against freedom of expression. Threatened voices has followed and mapped many arrests of Thailand digital activists, including Chiranuch's previous arrest on 2009-2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Verizon CEO confirms plans for tiered data pricing
      We told you so. The Wall Street Journal has updated its recent article detailing disclosures from Verizon Wireless chief Ivan Seidenberg, and the latest news is as bad as it is predictable: VZW plans to consign unlimited data plans to the annals of history over the next four to six months, to be replaced by tiered, consumption-based pricing

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pushing the limits of imitations in Switzerland
      Now it seems that Migros may have overstepped some boundary. As the Tagesanzeiger reports (in German), the new line of ice cream "Jane & Mary", a clear imitation of "Ben & Jerry", will be modified once the current stock is sold. Brand holder Unilever must have made some legal threat that had some impact, but how is unclear. Migros does not need Unilever, being quite self-reliant, and there have been more blatant imitations in the past.

    • Speeding medical orogress: better coordination or less IP?

    • Copyrights

      • Introducing Nathan Yergler
        I'm Chief Technology Officer at Creative Commons (CC). My responsibilities include managing the team that builds the technical infrastructure behind Creative Commons legal tools. I'm also responsible for looking at ways Creative Commons technology can be applied, and how our experience and expertise with linked open data can be leveraged. Open educational resources are a core application of Creative Commons licenses, as they depend upon license interoperability to scale.

      • ACS:Law Email Database Leaked onto The Pirate Bay
        There appears to have been a serious data security breach on ACS:Law's website today, as the website's root directory was temporarily exposed for several hours. One of the files may have been a backup file of the website, which possibly included the firm's email correspondence of solicitor Andrew Crossley.

        ACS:Law's website was initially brought down a well organized Denial of Service (DoS) attack that also targeted the MPAA, RIAA, BPI, Aiplex, and Davenport Lyons websites. The ISP hosting ACS:Law's website did the smart thing and suspended the account, preventing any further access to the site. However for some reason, the site became responsive again this morning, but not pointing to the typical ACS:Law website. Instead it pointed to ACS:Law's root directory - and possibly a treasure trove of information. How the site became activated is unknown, but could present an cataclysmic data breach, as a torrent file claiming to be the internal email database of ACS:Law and solicitor Andrew Crossley has been posted to The Pirate Bay.

      • CRIA Goes To Washington
        As always, none of this is to say that Canada should not engage in copyright reform. It should. And as I note in the Toronto Star piece, I think there is much to like in Bill C-32 and if we can find a compromise on the digital lock issue, I believe it is a bill worth supporting. That said, Canada needs to reform its laws based facts and the national interest, not lobbying trips designed to embarrass the country into changing its laws.

      • An Email From a Reader
        It seems to be a suggestion that the ability to claim for copyright infringement should be available, not just to the author, but anybody who might find it useful as a tool for censorship.

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