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Links 23/3/2011: Firefox 4, Gnash 0.8.9



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Contents





GNU/Linux

  • HP Declares its (web)Os Independence
    Last week at HP CEO’s Leo Apotheker’s coming out party, he came off as a smart, competent leader with a vision for taking his organization forward, while helping us leave the whole sordid Mark Hurd affair in the rear view.

    I wrote a post (HP Jumps on Cloud Bandwagon) concentrating on Apotheker’s cloud vision, but there was much more to the speech than that, chiefly a declaration of (web)OS Independence from Microsoft with a promise of webOS running on every HP consumer device (including printers).


  • Apotheker Seeks to Save HP’s ‘Lost Soul’ With Software Growth


  • 66% Pass Rate For East Africa Linux Training Workshop


  • 10 Ways Linux Is Making Life Better


    Linux has long played a leading role in the world of servers, due in large part to its stability, security and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). What many don't realize, however, is just how ubiquitous it's becoming in other parts of life as well.


  • Desktop

    • Installation Report: My Mother
      First, she requested the KDE main menu to be switched to classic mode, calling it more familiar.


    • A Compliment for the Linux Adoption Curve!
      I believe this is a mis-calculation. The hardware vendors will only invest in our ecosystem, when we are attractive compliments to their products. But they aren’t going to invest in their old discontinued products, but only into their new products. This leaves the old products without support and it just so happens that a great number of our main-stream users have made investments into hardware and are not willing to simply buy new hardware just yet. in conclusion, I think we can count on hardware makers providing us with drivers eventually; but for as long as they are not, we should be investing in all their old product lines and making sure they work with our desktop distributions.


    • Long live the laptop
      Good one, Tom. The fact of the matter is — and Tom eloquently outlines it in his blog, so I won’t be echoing it here (except to say, “I agree!”) — there’s a big difference between the tablet which, for all its conveniences, isn’t really a computer, and the desktop or laptop you use for getting things done.






  • Kernel Space



    • Graphics Stack

      • The Linux graphics stack from X to Wayland
        In the early 1980s, MIT computer scientist Bob Scheifler set about laying down the principles for a new windowing system. He had decided to call it X, because it was an improvement on the W graphical system, which naturally resided on the V operating system. Little did Bob know at the time, but the X Window System that he and fellow researches would eventually create would go on to cause a revolution. It became the standard graphical interface of virtually all UNIX based operating systems, because it provided features and concepts far superior to its competition. It took only a few short years for the UNIX community to embrace the X windowing system en masse.

        In this article, we'll take a look at the development of the Linux graphics stack, from the initial X client/server system to the modern Wayland effort.

        [...]

        X is the oldest lady at the dance, and she insists on dancing with everyone. X has millions of lines of source, but most of it was written long ago, when there were no GPUs, and no specialized transistors to do programmable shading or rotation and translation of vertexes. The hardware had no notion of oversampling and interpolation to reduce aliasing, nor was it capable of producing extremely precise color spaces. The time has come for the old lady to take a chair.






  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments

    • Linux for seniors? KiWi PC builds a Linux PC for grandma and grandpa


    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • shoot the messenger
        This really isn't about individual developers, and I do not paint every person in GNOME with the same brush in my mind. I don't do that for KDE, either: there is variety, some productive and some counter-productive, in any large group of people and our communities are not exceptions to that. However, casting me as some sort of "I hate all of you!" villain is not useful. Even if it were true, then people should simply ignore me as an individual actor in it and look at the large, long-term patterns that really do exist and really do need fixing. I am not personally responsible for everything, I was not even involved most of episodes that exhibited the unfortunate patterns we've been experiencing. So even if the messenger really, truly sucks and you really don't like them as a person, try to address the issues anyways. Avoid indulging in shooting the messenger as a way of dismissing issues and thereby relieving the perceived pain. It's only a distraction, and nothing gets improved that way.


      • Battling Misconceptions: What is KDE?
        Now, Tony is an experienced user of free software as well as a scientist and – from his emails – clearly an intelligent and inquisitive man. So it was a real surprise to me that he and other LXer readers were so ignorant about how KDE works. I do not mean ‘ignorant’ in any kind of offensive sense here, merely that both Tony and the other LXer readers really did not seem to understand how KDE operates or who we are. Here are a few questions (paraphrased) that really took my by surprise:

        * Who controls KDE? * Who funds KDE? * Can we contact KDE?

        These show a few things to me. First, some (many?) people think of us as having a hierarchy like a company, as if we have a leader or set of leaders who tell everyone else what to do. Maybe these are the people who pay us and if it is possible to get in contact with those leaders then they might be persuaded to redirect the efforts of all the code monkeys.



      • battling misconceptions, even within KDE :)
        One of Stuart's points was that KDE doesn't have top-down leaders that can tell random other people what to do in a way that they are beholden to follow. This is quite true, and it's a strength in that it prevents KDE from hijacked by any one interest, or requiring that we bet our future on any one group consistently and always making the best decisions.


      • Kupfer v204 (QuickLauncher) Released With New Gwibber Plugin, Lots More [PPA]
        Kupfer v204 was released a couple of days ago and today it was finally uploaded to the Kupfer PPA. The most interesting new feature in this new Kupfer version is a Gwibber plugin which allows you to easily send an update to Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook and so on (all the services supported by Gwibber). I'll tell you how to use this later on.


      • New Features in digiKam 2.0: Color Labels and Picks
        To add a color label to an individual photo, right-click on it, choose Assign Labels €» Color, and pick the color you want. Each color label has its own shortcut, so you can quickly label photos using the keyboard. For example, to assign the Magenta label, press Ctrl+Alt+6. To quickly remove a color label from a photo, press Ctrl+Alt+0. The Picks feature works in a similar manner: you can assign one of three picks — Pending, Accepted, or Rejected — to any photo in digiKam via the Assign Labels €» Pick context menu, or using the default shortcuts.




    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME marketing contract: week 3


        Last week, most of my contract time was taken up with two big tasks. I wrote a history of the GNOME 3 design for a press query, and I also wrote the first draft of the release notes (woo hoo!) That draft will be going off to various people for feedback and fact checking very soon.


      • Will GNOME 3.0 Repeat the User Revolt of KDE 4.0?
        KDE 4.0 was too radical a change, too lacking in features or stability, too much a triumph of developer's interests over user's -- the accusations seemed endless, and only began to quiet six months later when KDE 4.1 began addressing the shortcomings. Partly, the hostility continues to this day, although for many the KDE 4 series has long ago proved itself.

        This April, GNOME 3.0 is scheduled for release. Just as KDE 4.0 was a radical departure from KDE 3.5, so GNOME 3.0 is a radical departure from GNOME 2.32. But will its release trigger another user revolt? Or has the GNOME project -- perhaps learning from KDE's experience -- managed expectations well enough to prevent history from repeating itself?

        Certainly, GNOME has tried much harder to handle its own break with the past differently than KDE managed KDE 4.0. But the KDE revolt resulted from multiple causes, and, although GNOME has addressed some of those causes, the underlying problems of the project's relationship to its users remains in some ways disturbingly similar to those faced by KDE three years ago.






  • Distributions

    • 7 Surprises From Turkey
      I made several reviews of Operation systems originating from Eastern Europe: SLAX, Agilia Linux, Alt Linux, Austrumi. This time I will aim little bit to the South, on the place where Europe meets Asia. How many countries do you know which are placed in Europe and Asia both? Russia? Anything else? Yes, that is Turkey. Not the most well known country in the world, although European culture would be different if this country would not exist. Byzantium, Constantinople... They are all parts of Turkish history.


    • Bodhi Linux: E17 and Ubuntu make a great combination


      As anyone who has read my ramblings long enough knows, I am a big fan of the Enlightenment desktop. I’ve been enjoying this take on the Linux desktop since the early E16 days. For a while, however, I left E17 for GNOME simply because the combination of Ubuntu and GNOME made perfect sense. Not only was Ubuntu a very stable distribution, GNOME had come a long, long way.

      You will also have more than likely read my recent trepidation regarding the changes coming to the Ubuntu desktop (Unity). Although Ubuntu 11.04 will offer a traditional GNOME desktop selection at log in, I realized that Ubuntu Unity is just not the desktop for me. So, I decided it was time to head back to the land of Enlightenment. But instead of going through the paces of installing E17 on top of Ubuntu, I decided to search out a distribution that would combine the two.


    • Reviews

      • Lazy Linux Distro Reviews
        Whenever I took the time to write a distribution review, I always made it a point to actually install the distribution on my system and use it as my main operating system for a minimum of a few days. Sure this takes a little bit more effort, but it is necessary if you are going to write an informed article. I amazes me how many people that write reviews simply boot a distribution in virtual box (some don't even install it!) take a few screen shots and then call it a day. Some don't even load any of the default applications or even look at the project's website. Sure it is OK to load the distribution as a virtual machine, but this should not be the only method of testing it for the purposes of a review.


      • Review: Chakra 2011.02 "Cyrus"
        The live and installed sessions worked quite well, the latter certainly much better than in the last version, where X11 refused to start.




    • New Releases

      • Saline 1.3
      • AUSTRUMI 2.3.2
      • Chakra 2011.04-ms3


      • Macpup 520
        Macpup 520 is the latest and is based on Puppy Linux 5.2 ,"Lucid Puppy", An official woof build of puppy Linux that is binary-compatible with Ubuntu Lucid Lynx packages. MP520 contains all the apps from Lucid puppy with the addition of Firefox 4 RC 1. Extra apps like Opera or Gimp are available for easy download from the Quickpet App on the ibar or the Puppy Package Manager. MP511 also includes the Enlightenment E17 window manager. The EFL libraries version 1.0.0 and E17 version 55225 where compiled and installed from source.




    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat's JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1 Includes Enterprise-Class Open Source Data Virtualization Solution
        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the availability of JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 5.1, which includes new extensions for data services integration.


      • Red Hat Puts Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 to the Test
        When we released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 in November 2010, we discussed the many performance improvements featured in the release – these included improvements in network rates, multi-user filesystem workloads and virtualization I/O enhancements allowing for increased consolidation while simultaneously reducing I/O overhead in comparison to baremetal.

        Today, we’re excited to announce that in internal testing conducted by Red Hat engineering, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 has set a new standard in storage performance. The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Intel-based systems and Fusion-io Solid State Storage devices delivered results measuring 30 percent faster performance than previously published results* based on proprietary systems.




    • Debian Family





  • Devices/Embedded

    • An introduction to Embedded Linux, BeagleBoard & its Linux kernel port
      BeagleBoard comes with a 4GB microSD card containing validation software that you can use (actually, a release of the Angstrom distribution) and which should boot after you insert the card and power on the board. If you have set things up correctly, you will see a simple banner and be able to type shell commands. There are various alternative images available on the BeagleBoard website, so you can replace the ‘validation’ factory image with a version of Android built for BeagleBoard, or Ubuntu, and so on. I chose to install Debian Squeeze on my BeagleBoard, following instructions on the BeagleBoard wiki and using the updated kernel images available from Robert Nelson to get started. At this point, the latest upstream kernels (from 2.6.38 onwards) support most of the hardware out of the box without requiring patching or modification.


    • Phones



      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Digia to acquire Qt commercial licensing business from Nokia


        • The Linux Foundation Announces MeeGo TV Working Group
          MeeGo Smart TV Working Group begins its work to bring open framework and innovation to television ecosystem

          LONDON {IPTV World Forum}, March 22, 2011 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the formation of the MeeGoâ„¢ Smart TV Working Group.

          MeeGo is an open source Linux project targeting multiple segments including automotive systems, netbooks, tablets, TV’s, and set-top boxes, among others, and uses Qt to enable cross-device applications. The Working Group is designed to help drive the evolution of MeeGo within the television ecosystem and provide an open framework for industry creativity and innovation.




      • Android

        • Sencha Releases Android Event Recorder to Speed Development of Android Web Apps


        • Android media players hot up
          Android's default media players are reasonable enough but if you want a little more from your mobile media player then there is good news. The number of great media players now available for Android is growing daily and includes the likes of stalwarts such as Winamp as well as some new names.


        • A Look at Firefox Mobile
          As Firefox inches slowly towards its March 26 release date, the Mozilla folks are also working on Firefox Mobile for Android — a port of the beloved Firefox browser to the Android platform. Can Mozilla make significant headway on mobile devices? Signs point to yes.

          Bearing in mind that Firefox 4 on Android is still in beta, I went to try it out for a bit and see how well it fares on my Nexus One. Note that I recently got the Gingerbread update on the Nexus, though I’m not sure if that has any impact on Firefox performance or not compared to earlier Android releases.










Free Software/Open Source



  • Top open source developers coming


    This week’s Palmetto Open Source Software Conference — or POSSCON — is bringing some of the nation’s leading software developers to Columbia.

    The conference, which will be held Wednesday through Friday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, will focus on the latest issues for developers, executives, government leaders and educators.

    The conference is unique on the East Coast, said conference chairman Todd Lewis, managing partner of Columbia’s Palmetto Computer Labs. Most open source conferences are held on the West Coast, such as in Silicon Valley. And it is significantly cheaper — $99 for advance tickets and $149 at the door — compared with $800 and up for West Coast conferences, Lewis said.


  • Events



  • Web Browsers



    • Mozilla

      • Download Firefox 4 Final for Linux
        Ladies and gentlemen, Mozilla has finally made available for download the latest and stable version of the highly anticipated Mozilla Firefox 4.0 web browser for Linux, Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures are supported!

        Yes! The final version of Firefox 4 is finally here, and it brings an amazing new look, faster start-up times, lots and lots of improvements, support for 3D graphics, HTML5, WebM, CSS3, SVG, hardware acceleration, JavaScript improvements, privacy enhancements, crash protection, and much more!


      • Mozilla Firefox 4 Improves Memory Use
        That's no longer the case as the browser is set to exit development and become generally available on March 22.


      • FireSSH – SSH in a Browser (Firefox addon)
        FireSSH is a free, cross-platform SSH terminal client for Mozilla Firefox. Written entirely in Javascript!


      • Mozilla’s Leaner, Meaner Firefox 4 Arrives


      • Mozilla's Firefox 4 bags 1M downloads in 3 hours
        Firefox 4 got off to a strong start today, with 1 million copies of the new browser downloaded in the first three hours.

        If it keeps up the early pace, Firefox 4 will easily beat Microsoft's claim that users downloaded 2.4 million copies of its Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) in the first 24 hours of availability last week.


      • Firefox 4 Heats Up the Browser Wars


      • The 10 Best Features In Firefox 4


      • 12 new features in Mozilla Firefox 4
        D-day is here for Mozilla Firefox 4, almost 8 months after its first beta release. The launch comes eight days after Microsoft IE 9's official launch. Firefox 4 was originally scheduled to launch in November 2010. Damon Sicore, Mozilla's senior director of platform engineering, said in a message on a company forum, “Today's triage session concluded with all systems go for a Firefox 4 launch on March 22.”


      • Mozilla Launches Firefox 4 and Delivers a Fast, Sleek and Customizable Browsing Experience to More Than 400 Million Users Worldwide
        Mozilla, a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Web better, is proud to release Mozilla Firefox 4, the newest version of the popular, free and open source Web browser. Firefox puts users in control of their Web experience, providing a streamlined user interface, fun new features, a boost in speed and support for modern Web technologies.






  • SaaS

    • What the Cloud Means for the Open-Source Desktop
      In this scenario, open-source operating systems win big. They’re free, but even more importantly, they’re highly modular and scalable, making it simple for vendors and users to cut out overhead that becomes useless in a cloud-based world.


    • Zarafa CEO Brian Joseph On Open-Source, the Cloud, and the World
      While cautioning that the open-source licensing of Zarafa’s software is “not the most important” factor in its success, Joseph emphasized the unique selling points that the product enjoys vis-à-vis proprietary competitors because of its open-source nature. Above all, the ability of customers to tweak the software freely provides an advantage wholly unavailable from most of Zarafa’s competitors.




  • Databases

    • Percona Delivers MySQL Support to 1000th Customer
      Percona, the oldest and largest independent provider of support and consulting services for the MySQL database, is proud to celebrate the 1000-customer milestone. Percona was founded in 2006 and employs a staff of nearly 50 people globally. Customers include Cisco Systems, Alcatel-Lucent, Groupon, the BBC, and StumbleUpon. Companies who purchase MySQL support contracts from Percona testify that they enjoy lower system downtime, faster time to market, cost savings, access to state-of-the-art solutions that raise their capabilities to the next level, and greater business agility.


    • Ingres Announces Innovative Cloud Solutions and Strategic Roadmap




  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



  • CMS

    • Acquia Launches Web Solution Powerhouse Drupal Gardens 1.0
      Acquia, the enterprise guide to Drupal, today announced the general availability release of Drupal Gardens 1.0 with new capabilities and pricing plans. The powerful new Views functionality makes Drupal Gardens the most robust web solution to rapidly assemble and deploy extraordinary social sites. With more than 40,000 sites created in the last year, Drupal Gardens is the fastest way to build content-rich, dynamic sites.

      Views, a capability unique to Drupal, provides Drupal Gardens with an incomparable collection of tools for site builders with the simplicity of software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery. Without writing any code, Views makes it possible to create custom mashups or combinations of content, media, user profiles, and more. Site builders can point and click to pull together any information on their site and craft dynamic lists, grids, tables, reports, RSS feeds, and navigation. Views can also be configured to display different results based on visitor interactions, such as displaying posts submitted over the past month versus the most popular. With Views, Drupal Gardens sites can be easily assembled and deployed with completely custom dynamic content.


    • Investor.gov using Drupal


      Investor.gov recently switched to Drupal from WordPress. The site houses a lot of information for investors.

      The new investor.gov is a good looking site that also seems to be 508 compliant (for accessibility). The site is easy to use, making it easy for users to get the information they need without being overwhelmed.




  • Education

    • Open University offers Linux certification
      The six month OU course, from which students gain credits towards their degree, has been running for one year, during which over 1,000 students completed the program. A further 500 are expected to register for the third course, starting in May 2011. The course is aimed at complete beginners, and introduces them to the history and value of open source, installation and management of the operating system and web server, and basic functionality.


    • PL: School curriculum to be modernised with courses on free software
      The Polish Foundation on Open and Free Software (Fwioo) is establishing a team of ten experts to help develop courses on free and open source software, meant to be used in secondary schools as well as in technical schools.




  • Business

    • Addressing a Big New Audience: VMware Acquires WaveMaker
      This acquisition furthers VMware’s cloud application platform strategy by empowering additional developers to build and run modern applications that share information with underlying infrastructure to maximize performance, quality of service and infrastructure utilization.


    • When commercial open source goes bad
      Another example involves a company set up by some prominent former employees of one of the big names in open source software. The first version was released using an open source license but was never updated, as the company focused all its attention on the closed source version instead.

      Meanwhile one of the prominent “open source” systems management vendors appears to have removed all mention of its Community Edition software from its website, while the Community Edition itself has not been updated for 15 months. While the project is not officially “dead” it is, to say the least, “pining for the fjords” and the company in question could be said to be open source in name only.




  • Funding



  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Call: An open source Skype
      Free software world announces ambitious plans to build an open source Skype alternative.

      In an effort to create a free software alternative to Skype the GNU Project has announced plans for GNU Call. The project hopes to provide secure over-the-internet calls to all users and rival the popular Skype VoIP service.


    • Gnash 0.8.9 advances open source Flash
      The new 0.8.9 release improves on the usability and stability of the platform.




  • Government

    • AU: Government moves to encourage use of Open Source Software
      On 27 January 2011, Special Minister of State Gary Gray released the revised Australian Government Open Source Software Policy, which requires agencies to consider both open source and proprietary software for all ICT procurements.

      Mr Gray said: "The revised policy further strengthens agency software procurement processes by requiring agencies to consider both open source and proprietary software when undertaking all software procurement."

      The government’s previous position on open source software, established in 2005, was one of ‘informed neutrality’. This ensured an unbiased position that did not favour the selection of either open source or proprietary software. Both the previous and the new policy positions ensure ‘value for money’ and 'fit for purpose' decisions in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.




  • Licensing

    • Google GPL violation claims speculative: expert
      He pointed out that the same thing had been done twice before with glibc and uClibc, both under a weak LGPL licence. Google had merely provided a third alternative.


    • Open source and app stores: Where they mix, where they don't
      App stores are all the rage these days, with companies vying to release their software ahead of competitors. Not surprisingly, open source components are being used to speed development of these applications. But companies need to ensure their open source usage fits within the requirements of both the app stores and open source component licenses -- or risk removal from these outlets (and not just Apple's).


    • Linus on Android headers: claims "seem totally bogus"
      The recent uncertainty cast over Android's Bionic library and its use of Linux kernel headers "seems totally bogus", according to Linus Torvalds. In an interview with Brian Proffitt at ITWorld, Torvalds said "I haven't looked at exactly what Google does with the kernel headers but I can't see they they'd want to do anything fundamentally different from glibc in this respect". He also pointed out that he has said making use of the kernel's system call interfaces, as described in the headers, does not "in any way result in a derived work as per the GPL".




  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source Kimono Lanterns to the rescue
      The devastation in Japan is heart rending and compels each of one of us to contribute to help improve the situation. Similar thoughts have been running through developers at Freaklabs . At the hackerspace they are involved with, a solar rechargeable lantern was designed for garden and patio use. Called the Kimono Lantern, today they are able to put it to better use. Donating the complete design to the open source hardware community, they are indeed standing true to the commitments of the Open Source community.




  • Programming



  • Standards/Consortia





Leftovers



  • Science

    • The tiny cube that could cut your cell phone bill
      It's called lightRadio, a Rubik's cube-sized device made by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) that takes all of the components of a cell phone tower and compresses them down into a 2.3-inch block. Unlike today's cell towers and antennas, which are large, inefficient and expensive to maintain, lightRadio is tiny, capacious and power-sipping.




  • Security



    • PHP.net breach: Concern over safety of source code
      Maintainers of the PHP programming language spent the past few days scouring their source code for malicious modifications after discovering the security of one of their servers had been breached.

      The compromise of wiki.php.net allowed the intruders to steal account credentials that could be used to access the PHP repository, the maintainers wrote in a brief note. They continue to investigate details of the attack, which exploited a vulnerability in the Wiki software and a separate security flaw in Linux. The site has been down since at least Friday.






  • Finance







Clip of the Day



Ubuntu 11.04 Trailer HD (version en español)



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Credit: TinyOgg

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