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Links 3/12/2010: KDE 4.5.4, Linux Genealogy CD 6.1 Released



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Has Linux Reached the End of the Line?
    Fans of FOSS are already all too accustomed to the many barbs and insults Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) tends to sling at any free competitor, but one of the latest was so mystifying as to leave many Linux bloggers scratching their heads.

    To be precise,"Нужно иметь в виду, что Linux не является российской ОС и, кроме того, находится в конце своего жизненного цикла" was the comment from Nikolai Pryanishnikov, president of Microsoft Russia. Translated, it reads, "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle."

    Now, those who have been paying attention know that Russia is in the midst of what might be called an on-again, off-again affair with free software, as Glyn Moody notes in a recent blog post on the topic.

    [...]

    "Saying a thing doesn't make it so," Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza told Linux Girl. "Linux still has legs it hasn't even walked on yet."

    The operating system is "still growing in the server space, and Android looks poised to utterly dominate the smartphone landscape," Espinoza explained. "Meanwhile, the desktop computer is on its way out; less and less people need one, and more and more Internet citizens lack one.

    "The year of the Linux desktop just may end up being the year the desktop is replaced by tablets and smartphones," Espinoza concluded.


  • Getting into the Linux Operating System with Ubuntu
    Linux Doesn't Have to Be Hard


  • Server



  • Applications

    • Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Image Apps
      There is a longstanding myth that the choice of multimedia applications is sparse in Linux. This article began as a roundup of Multimedia Apps (multimedia being images, audio, and video). We had to split the story not once, but twice, in order to accommodate the number of titles we found. It's safe to say that this myth has been busted.


    • Instructionals/Technical



    • Games

      • Creating Amnesia
        In case you missed out on it earlier this year, you should really play Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Frictional Games built on the foundation it laid during its work on the Penumbra series to deliver a title that doesn't rely on shock scares or cheap, gross-out imagery to frighten. It's the genuine article -- a consistently unsettling game world that never lets up and only becomes stranger as time goes on; a title very much worthy of the designation "survival horror."






  • Desktop Environments



    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • December Updates Further Stabilize KDE's 4.5 Series
        As of today, the latest release in KDE's 4.5 series is 4.5.4, which adds a bunch of stabilization and translation updates on top of 4.5. Users in general are encouraged to upgrade to 4.5.4. The changelog has more details about some of the changes that went into this release.


      • December Updates Stabilize KDE 4.5 Further
        Today, KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Platform. This update is the fourth in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.5 series. 4.5.4 brings bugfixes and translation updates on top of KDE SC 4.5 series and is a recommended update for everyone running 4.5.3 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE SC 4 is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come.



      • Changes in KDE 4.5.4




    • Xfce

      • A Long Overdue Look at XFCE
        Here at MakeTechEasier, we’ve covered Linux desktop issues of all kinds, and we’ve examined desktop environments both well known (Gnome and KDE) as well as somewhat obscure (Window Maker, LXDE). For some reasons, we’ve never taken a close look at the very popular XFCE desktop environment. It’s nearly as feature-rich as Gnome, but with a smaller footprint. As it’s been a big name in the Linux desktop world for quite a few years now, it seems we’re long overdue to check out this polished and useful collection of software.






  • Distributions



    • New Releases

      • New Linux Genealogy CD 6.1 Released
        The Linux Genealogy CD is a great way to take Linux for a "test drive" without changing anything on your PC. Once downloaded and stored properly on a CD-ROM disk, the Linux Genealogy CD can be used as a boot disk. You insert the CD into your PC's CD disk drive, boot directly from the CD, and load Linux. You can run Linux as long as you wish but it never writes anything to your hard drive (unless you specifically tell it to). When finished, you boot down, remove the CD, boot again, and the system returns to Windows, exactly the same as before. Nothing has been changed.




    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Trudging on to Release
        At the beginning of November the Mageia project had many necessary elements almost in place. These included things like a build server, Website and wiki hosting, a Code of Conduct, development and management teams, and a roadmap. The build server is based on Mandriva One and is just almost complete. PLF is temporarily hosting the some online resources and Zarb.org is hosting the mailing lists until a move to Gandi is completed. Packaging, artwork, distribution developers, translators, designers, QA, and other teams were organized. An alpha was planned for December at that time.




    • Red Hat Family



      • Fedora

        • REINITIALIZING WILL CAUSE ALL DATA TO BE LOST!
          Here are the problems you can see just looking at a screen surface level here:

          * The titlebar says warning. The text says error. The icon indicates a question. These are all in conflict with one another. This dialog is more of a warning dialog than anything else. * The metadata about the drive in question is strewn all over the dialog and hard to read. * The dialog uses the word ‘reinitialized’ and ‘re-initialized’ multiple times without explaining what it means. * THE DIALOG USES ALL CAPS * The dialog says that re-initializing will cause all data to be lost, but actually, it will only cause data on the drives being reinitialized to be lost, and only if there was any data in the first place (which there might not have been.) * Four buttons across the bottom of the screen is a bit of an overload, yet if we had say 100 such devices attached to the system (slices of a network drive maybe) then we would see this dialog 100 times without those extra ‘all’ buttons. * What does ignore do? Ignore what? Ignore this warning and go ahead an re-initialize? Wait a minute… (It actually ignores the drive in question, removing it from the set of drives considered in the install process) * Overall, the dialog is scary, and this fright is brought up in situations that should not be frightful – e.g., you’re simply installing on a virtual machine with a virtual disk. No need for the scare!






    • Debian Family



      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu's Unity interface: What to expect
          Recently, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu shocked the Ubuntu Linux world when he announced that the next release of the popular Linux, Ubuntu 11.04, would use Unity instead of GNOME as its default desktop interface.

          Why move from pure GNOME to Unity? As Shuttleworth explained to the Ubuntu developers, "Lots of people are already committed to Unity -- the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors." In particular, he noted, "Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) favor Unity. They're happy to ship it."


        • The Desktop Faces Of Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1
          Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 is set to be released today and many of you have been wondering what Canonical's Unity desktop will look like in this forthcoming release codenamed Natty Narwhal. I, for one, have been quite interested based upon the terrible Unity experience in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook, so I fired up the latest Ubuntu Natty daily LiveCD released this morning. Here are some screenshots of the new Ubuntu Unity desktop as it stands in Natty Alpha 1 along with screenshots of Natty's classic GNOME desktop.








  • Devices/Embedded



    • Sub-notebooks

      • 9 Linux Desktops for Netbooks
        Developed by Google, Chrome OS is currently available as a release candidate, with general release expected early in 2011. Although according to Wikipedia, Chrome OS will not be available as a download, but shipped pre-installed on computers, a download is still available on lie.

        Chrome is the most extreme example yet of an operating system designed for use with online applications. It installs with little more than the Chrome browser and a panel with a few basic utilities on it, and almost all the available apps are online.








Free Software/Open Source



  • EditShare Upgrading Lightworks Editing System
    EditShare founder and president Andy Liebman said that, based on early inquiries, more than 25,000 editors and developers could participate in the beta program. "We believe we can unleash a large community with developers," he said.




Leftovers

  • Xmarks finds Buyer: Free Web-Browser Service to continue
    When I heard that Xmarks, the popular cross-browser plug-in that synchronizes bookmarks and passwords across multiple computers, was going out of business, I was really upset. For me, and many others, Xmarks is an invaluable resource. Well, we don’t have to worry anymore. LastPass, makers of an excellent password manager, has just announced that they’ve bought Xmarks. Hurrah!


  • Preventing your own WikiLeaks
    No, Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) is about as secure as any network can be. But, US Army intelligence analyst, Private First Class Bradley Manning showed how even the best laid security plans are useless if they’re not followed. While SIPRNet materials seemed to have been shared over a secured network, the laptops that Manning used to vacuum down the gigabytes of data, now in WikiLeak’s hands, had a CD/DVD burner on it. According to a Wired report, Manning said, “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file.”


  • EBay Wins Round Against Tiffany as High Court Rejects Appeal


    The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive Tiffany & Co.’s bid to hold EBay Inc. accountable for sales of counterfeit goods on its auction website.

    The justices today left intact a ruling that said Tiffany couldn’t use federal trademark law to sue EBay, the most-visited U.S. e-commerce site.


  • Trolling As An Ecommerce Strategy? Online Store Increases Google Rank Via Obnoxious (Perhaps Criminal) Service
    A few folks sent over this rather bizarre, but entertaining, story in the NY Times about a guy who operates an online ecommerce shop for eyewear out of his home office, and seems to have done quite well... in part by being a total jackass. The story is almost unbelievable. I'm not going to name the site, because, as is noted in the article, the guy thrives on having his site named in various places, which has only served to boost the Google juice for it. However, the guy discovered that the more complaints he got online, the higher his site ranked in Google, leading to more sales. Yes, if you do a search on the site's actual name, there are tons of complaints warning people to stay away -- but many of his customers don't actually do that.


  • The Incredible Stupidity Of Investigating Google For Acting Like A Search Engine
    As you can clearly see, none of the competing search engines I’ve named are listed in the top results. Rather than show them, Google instead shows pages about cars that it has collected across the web using its own technology.


  • Electric Airplane Sets New Speed Record
    The cool news is there’s a new speed record for electric aircraft. A French pilot flew his twin-engine, electric powered Cri-Cri to a top speed of 162 miles per hour. This beats the previous record of 155 mph set by an Italian team in 2009.


  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff's Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander?
      But McCall was merely pointing out that there's a "revolving door" at these agencies, and machines are pitched by former government folks, with little evidence that they're effective. Matthews totally takes what McCall actually says and pretends (falsely) that she claimed he made a corrupt deal while still in power. This is what passes for journalism these days?


    • Daniel Rubin: An infuriating search at Philadelphia International Airport
      She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. "That's my money," she remembers saying. The officer's reply? "It's not your money."

      At this point she told the officers that she had a good explanation for the checks, but questioned whether she had to tell them.

      "The police officer said if you don't tell me, you can tell the D.A."

      So she explained that she and her husband had been on vacation, that they'd accumulated some hefty checks, and that she was headed to her bank's headquarters, where she intended to deposit them.

      She gave police her husband's cell-phone number - he was at her mother's with their children and missed their call.

      Thirty minutes after the police became involved, they decided to let her collect her belongings and board her plane.


    • Naked Truth
      ...TSA's claim that 99 percent of passengers "consent" to full-body scans is less impressive.


    • Molecular Biologist Highlights Serious Safety Concerns Over TSA Scanners


    • The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot
      What's missing from all of these celebrations is an iota of questioning or skepticism. All of the information about this episode -- all of it -- comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud. As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims -- as here -- are uncorroborated and unexamined. That's why we have what we call "trials" before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened: because the government doesn't always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government's claims to scrutiny. The FBI affidavit -- as well as whatever its agents are whispering into the ears of reporters -- contains only those facts the FBI chose to include, but omits the ones it chose to exclude. And even the "facts" that are included are merely assertions at this point and thus may not be facts at all.


    • FBI Celebrates That It Prevented FBI's Own Bomb Plot
      Of course, this is hardly new. There appears to have been a very similar story just a month ago, involving a guy in DC who wanted to bomb Metro stations, but the only actual plotting he was able to do was after federal authorities stepped in and helped him plan everything.

      Even that is hardly new. I remember a fascinating episode of This American Life back from the summer of 2009 describing (in great detail) a very similar story of a supposed "arms dealer" that the Justice Department championed as a success story when it arrested and prosecuted him for selling missiles to terrorists. The only problem is that the deeper you dig, the more you realize that the whole plot was also set up by the feds. The guy had no way to get a missile. It was actually provided by the feds themselves.


    • WikiLeaks founder could be charged under Espionage Act


    • You Are No Longer Free To Move About the Country


    • Mainstream Press Seems To Think Fighting For Civil Liberties Is Childish
      We've already pointed out how many mainstream newspapers and magazines have been mocking the concerns of people who are upset by the TSA's new search procedures. And, of course, the latest is that the press has decided this story is over because not enough people (in their estimation) opted out of the naked scans last week. NYU professor Jay Rosen notes a related, but disturbing, trend in the mainstream press coverage, with multiple publications suggesting that it was somehow childish to suggest these machines invade privacy with little actual security benefit. The common theme in all of these reports? "Grow up."




  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights



  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Comcast, Level 3, Network Neutrality, and your Internet
      I call a foul on Comcast. This strikes me not only as a violation of network neutrality, but as remarkably short-sighted.


    • Telecom Giants Cheer FCC Plan, Net Neutrality Advocates Aren’t Amused
      On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski set a vote on rules to protect network neutrality, the principle that broadband companies shouldn’t block or degrade rival web content, services or applications. The vote will be held on December 21st.

      The compromise rules would re-establish the principle that U.S. internet users can use whatever software, websites and equipment they like on their cable or DSL connections. Those companies would also be barred from slowing down or blocking content from competitors. The ISPs will also have to be transparent about how they manage congestion on their networks to ensure that anti-competitive behavior isn’t being disguised.




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • Hershey Co. sues competitor Mars, claiming trademark infringement in candy packaging
      The Hershey Co, has taken one of its major competitors, Mars Inc., to court in a federal lawsuit over the packaging of chocolate and peanut butter candy.


    • Copyrights



      • ‘Struggling’ Screenwriter Sued By Twentieth Century Fox For $12 Million
        Described online as a struggling screenwriter who sells flowers to make ends meet, P.J. McIlvaine is now facing the biggest struggle of her life. After creating a free online library of Hollywood movie scripts to assist other screenwriters, she incurred the wrath of Twentieth Century Fox. Without any previous contact, the movie giant sent private investigators to P.J’s home to gather information and has now sued for a mind boggling $12 million.


      • Supreme Court Won't Hear Innocent Infringer Case, Though Alito Thinks It Should
        This is hardly a surprise. Since Whitney Harper lost the appeal in her fight against the RIAA, claiming that statutory rates should be lowered to $200 (from a minimum of $750) as she was an "innocent infringer" (something which the law allows), we noted that it was unlikely the Supreme Court would hear the case. Even after the Supreme Court asked the RIAA for more info, we still noted that it was a long shot. So, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case.


      • EFF to courts: Don't name alleged porn pirates
        Accusing someone in a federal lawsuit of illegally downloading pornography is by itself so potentially embarrassing that it puts undue pressure on an accused person to settle, a watchdog group has told judges in Texas and West Virginia.


      • Five Questions For Homeland Security Concerning Its Online Censorship Campaign
        Of course, even more insidious is Morton's regular mixing of "counterfeiting" and "copyright infringement" -- which are two extremely different things. In his statement, however, he seems to rely on whatever is "worst" for what he's talking about. Counterfeit products seem like a bigger problem than straight copyright infringement, so he puts that first as saying "counterfeiters" are a problem. But, of course, the websites seized have nothing to do with counterfeits, so he switches and pretends he's talking about copyright, saying that "criminals are stealing American ideas and products and distributing them over the Internet." Except you can't "steal an idea." It's simply not possible. Nothing is missing. You can copy an idea -- but an idea is not copyrightable -- only an expression is. You would think that someone representing the US government, seizing domain names over copyright infringement would know that you can't copyright an idea.


      • Domain Name Seizures and the Limits of Civil Forfeiture
        For a domain name, even a short seizure effectively erases any value the asset has. Even if ultimately returned, it’s now worthless.

        Clearly the prosecutors here understand that a pre-trial seizure is effectively a conviction. Consider the following quote from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, who said at a press conference today, “Counterfeiters are prowling in the back alleys of the Internet, masquerading, duping and stealing.” Or consider the wording of the announcement placed on seized domain names (see http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html), implying at the least that the sites were guilty of illegal acts.

        There’s no requirement for the government to explain the seizures are only temporary measures designed to safeguard property that may be evidence of crime or may be an asset used to commit it. Nor do they have to acknowledge that none of the owners of the domain names seized has been charged or convicted of any crime yet. But the farther prosecutors push the forfeiture statute, the bigger the risk that courts or Congress will someday step in to pull them back.


      • If Newly Seized Domains Were Purely Dedicated To Infringement, Why Was Kanye West Using One?
        Even more damning, top artists like Kanye West clearly appreciate sites like this. Just a few weeks ago, Kanye West linked to OnSmash via his Twitter feed.

        It really looks like Homeland Security/ICE may have seriously screwed up here. Whether or not seizing domains in general like this is even legal is an open legal question -- and blatantly seizing domains with tons of legit content that the industry and artists regularly used themselves seems like a test case the government doesn't want just waiting to happen.


      • Talking About Homeland Security's Domain Seizures


      • Homeland Security Admits That It's The Private Police Force Of The Entertainment Industry
        Barnett also claims that this is no different than Customs seizing shipments of counterfeit goods as they enter the US, but that's a huge stretch. Customs' job is to guard what crosses the borders. That's it. Seizing entire domain names because there may be some infringing material on the site (which, again, was never established at a trial) has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the borders. And the very fact that Barnett's already admitted to relying on the industry's say so that these things are infringing is downright scary. Why are our tax dollars being used to protect legacy entertainment industry companies that refuse to adapt?


      • Justin Bieber Swears Off YouTube For Facebook, Unwittingly Steps In Copyright Minefield
        Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records.


      • Senate Judiciary Committee Moves Forward On Fashion Copyright
        The Senate Judiciary Committee apparently just loves expanding copyright law for no reason whatsoever. Just after they unanimously agreed to move the COICA censorship bill forward, they've also unanimously agreed to move forward with the fashion copyright bill, which is nothing more than blatant protectionism for the largest players in the fashion industry, at the expense of new entrants and (more importantly) the public. This has been discussed over and over and over again and it's a real shame.


      • Project Copyright! Bill Giving IP Protection to Fashion Moves Forward
        Versions of the bill had been introduced three times in recent years, but until now, the bill has never been referred out of committee in either the Senate or the House.










Clip of the Day



Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks



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Credit: TinyOgg

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