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Links 05/01/2009: FreeBSD 7.1 Released, Freescale Likely to Make GNU/Linux Devices

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Pupils conquer fear of computers

    Much of the country is remote and accessible only on foot, and many of its people have never glimpsed a computer, let alone touched one.

    Working with other organisations, including Save the Children-Norway, HeNN is setting up the libraries with the use of what is called the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP).

    This is a free and open-source (accessible to everyone) package which connects one powerful central server in the school, using the Linux operating system, to a number of diskless low-end computers. When linked to the server, each computer receives a full Linux desktop.

    LTSP is seen as a cost-effective, power-saving and durable technology, not only in schools but also in other sectors. What’s more, it is also virtually free of tampering and computer viruses – and the Linux software developed by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, a charitable educational library based in Kathmandu, is being provided free of cost.

  • The world may be unstable but Linux is not.

    I cannot even consider doing that with windows and there is no way I would do that sort of thing on the spur of the moment. It would be like trying to merge c: and d: drives to the d: drive in windows speak. Is that even possible? The only way I can think of is a total backup, reformat, reload, restore and reconfigure, brrrr! How long do you think that would take?

  • Gaming on Linux: I’ll Stick With Wine, Please

    In general, there are a lot of reasons to avoid wine and promote native Linux software instead. But when it comes to gaming, I think that developers are best off relying on wine as a vehicle to the Linux desktop. Vendors should make sure their games will run well on wine, rather than delving into the much muckier work of writing native Linux games.

  • How on earth do you make a dime out of Linux and open source software?

    Software piracy is a scourge on the world of computing. Yet it’s a problem the open source community doesn’t have. That makes sense; it’s all freely available. But this raises the question: if it’s free how do the developers make any money? And how can it be any damn good?


    Just because you produce or use open source software doesn’t mean you have no means of gaining commercial advantage. However, open source software is anti lock-in.

    It’s a significant difference. An open source software solution will protect end users from being stuck with a poor support company or developer. Any capable organisation or person or group of people can be hired to take on the work.

  • Becoming a Linux user, pitfalls and experiences

    I’ve been a Linux user for some years now, and I’ve decided to start documenting the process I went trough.
    Today I might be seen as a Linux guru from the point of view of a starting user, from the point of view of a Linux guru I’m probably more seen as a starting user. I see myself as an intermediate, but even as my knowledge level might not be top level, On this day I do manage a business network, a few mail servers and web servers running a few hundred web sites. I do all this with relative ease and I could not have known I would be doing so much with Linux on the moment I started going down this path.

  • DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics in 2007 and 2008

    The star distribution of 2008 was undoubtedly Linux Mint, a project which has been successful in enhancing a standard Ubuntu and GNOME with a variety of user-friendly tools and features. Other operating systems rising noticeably in the ranking were Dreamlinux, Puppy Linux, FreeBSD, gOS and PC-BSD. On the other hand, severals distributions have fallen over the past year, most noticeably Freespire, KNOPPIX, Zenwalk Linux, Gentoo Linux and MEPIS Linux. Overall though, it’s the same old story – the Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora pages continue getting most hits year after year, with only an occasional “outsider” upsetting the dominant trio.

  • Interview with Stormy Peters – GNOME Foundation

    In this interview we talk with Stormy. In specific, we talk about:

    * History and scope of the GNOME umbrella project
    * The relationship between GNOME and the public
    * Branding an open source project in a world of mixed solutions
    * Competition and collaboration between open source projects and other software
    * Enhancing communication between developers and non-technical users
    * Individual versus collective contribution to product development
    * Client-side Linux and the rise of mobile devices
    * Emerging relationships between device manufacturers, carriers, and users

  • Applications

    • 14 of the Best Free Linux File Managers

      A file manager is software which provides a user interface to assist in the organisation of files. It helps users with their daily work in managing their files on a hard drive or other storage device. With terabyte hard disks becoming prevalent, file managers represent an essential tool in managing file systems.

    • Campus Party Brazil – maddog’s challenge – multimedia and Free Software

      Campus Party is going to be held January 19th to 25th in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have been asked to create a “challenge” for the attendees.

      I have long had a fascination with automated musical instruments (player pianos, player reed organs), and while I sometimes struggled with higher mathematics while attending Drexel University, I have developed an appreciation of how math, music and computers fit together, so I decided to anchor the “maddog challenge” around digital multimedia.

    • GRUB 2 Receives New Font Engine

      GRUB 2, the next-generation Linux boot loader, has received a new font engine. Version 2 of the GRand Unified Bootloader introduces this new font engine that’s written in C and with a font tool in Java. This engine will allow for better internationalization support including non-ASCII character codes and support for multiple fonts.

  • Security

    • Migrating from Windows

      I have been threatening my wife’s PC for quite some time now, but there has been no real motivation to move until today… Our bank called and told her a credit card has been fraudulently used in the last few days. Fortunately they appear to have correctly and swiftly identified the misuse and are dealing with the problem.

      However, this experience has obviously caused my beloved (Helen) to start wondering how her details were captured in the first place. She is pretty scrupulous with the shredder, and this particular card is almost only ever used for on-line transactions; so her PC was a possible, if not likely, route for the thieves. The ClamWin AV scan threw up a few nasty sounding files, including some IE.IFrame trojan thing, although they had all been quarantined already. But the fact that Windows is so vulnerable to attack and subsequent compromise when compared to Linux, this saga has just tipped the scales. We now have a good reason to start the final migration of the Lord household.

    • Security and your mother’s Linux box

      From the point of view of a user who’s only going to use the PC for web browsing, word processing and one or two other simple tasks like that, the best solution is to move to an alternative platform. The big opportunity, which some Linux distributions are now obviously seizing, is to produce Linux PCs and Linux laptops that just work, which don’t need anyone to know what a Tar file is, let alone how to compile stuff.

    • UK Government backs more remote searching of private PCs

      Liberty director Shami Chakrabati said “These are very intrusive powers – as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home” and that Liberty would be seeking to challenge the legal basis of the proposals. Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, considered that there were benefits to law enforcement, but that “The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse.”

    • Another Reason to Run GNU/Linux…

      Er, and how are they going to break into my system to install the keylogger if they don’t know the password? Attachments won’t work: I’m generally clever enough *not* to open them, and even if I did, they wouldn’t do much on a GNU/Linux box. And hacking my hard disc through the wireless network? I don’t think so.

  • Distributions

    • R.I.P. Linux 7.4 Offers Support for Ext4

      Kent Robotti announced today that last release of his R.I.P. Live CD, a Slackware-based CD that can be used for system rescue, backup, recovery or maintenance purposes. “This will be the last release from me, it should be useful for awhile. It’s licensed under GPL, anyone can do whatever they want with it without my permission. My email address is closed.” – he said on the R.I.P.’s official homepage.

      We have no idea why Mr. Robotti decided to drop the development of R.I.P., but we sure hope that a new developer will take over from here and continue to release new versions of this helpful rescue CD.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 123

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #123 for the weeks December 21st, 2008 – January 3rd, 2009. In this issue we cover: Notification, indicators and alerts, Making LoCo Teams Rock, Planet Ubuntu and Corporate Blogs, Ubuntu live on TV, Ubuntu Berlin review of 2008, Tunisian Team Events in December, 12 days of Launchpad, Full Circle Magazine #20, Meeting Summaries, and much, much more!


        Milo Casagrande has posted that there would be an interview with Fabio Marzocca on the local Rome TV channel, RomaUno. The interview, in Italian, is about Ubuntu and the Italian community.[1]

      • Another perfect Intrepid install

        After that all my customary installations and tweaks went perfectly; not a blip. Installing a whole raft of KDE applications in Gnome (Amarok, Kid3. Kaffeine, K3b, to name a few). Installing the KDE system settings piece to go with them. Configuring Wine and setting up DVDShrink and DVDFab HD Decrypter. Codecs and Acrobat Reader and Grip and Startup-manager and a bunch of other things from the Medibuntu repositories. Setting up links to the shares on my file server. Installing new icons and themes (but not a new desktop wallpaper – the coffee-stain Ibex picture is growing on me). All this and more took place quickly and easily.

  • Devices

    • Palm needs Nova to shine

      Palm is poised to make what some analysts are calling its last stand at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, where it is expected to introduce its long-awaited Linux-based operating system.

    • Light at the End of the Tunnel: 7 Things We Need From Nova

      Thanks in part to their obsessive secrecy regarding the upcoming Nova devices and the long development process, Palm have led many of their fans, the tech press and the financial community to write them off as serious contenders in the smartphone market. This is it. Their last shot at showing the world they’re not dead yet.

    • Palm NOVA Details Leak

      Palm recently received a $100 million cash “bailout” to tide it over while it tries to release its Linux-based NOVA OS. It’s going to release details about the OS this week at CES, but information about the upcoming phone has already leaked.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One details leak

        Acer had already confirmed that a larger version of their Aspire One netbook was coming in Q1 2009, and now we have more details and even an image. The 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One will be a larger evolution, rather than replacement, of the existing model, with the display running at the same 1024 x 600 resolution, but now have optional integrated 3G and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

        Acer have removed the second SD slot – the Storage Expansion slot, used to augment internal memory – and there’s only a single DIMM slot for RAM, with a maximum 2GB supported. Contrary to initial reports, both XP and Linux versions are expected, though it’s unclear what onboard capacity each will have.

      • Fedora 10 + Acer Aspire One = damn fine computer

        Linpus Linux is actually a great choice for inexperienced users. Everything works right out of the box and it’s obvious and intuitive how to get online, create documents, and use the built-in webcam. You can certainly launch a command line, as well, if you want to get more sophisticated, but it will quickly leave experienced users feeling a bit underwhelmed.

      • My First Netbook Experience

        Alright, so I’m a little behind on the times. Netbooks have been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to spend a little more than a few minutes with one. With CES right around the corner, I decided to finally get one in and spend a week using it exclusively at the event. Read on for my initial thoughts.


        Being a Linux user, I wasn’t that interested in sticking to Windows on the netbook for the simple fact that I’m so used to applications I use everyday, that I wanted to feel at home, as it would increase productivity. The distro I chose to use was Kubuntu, for two simple reasons. First, I’m not a fan of GNOME, and second, Kubuntu has superb hardware-detection.

      • Netbooks aim to boost PC sales

        The netbook takes the concept of the notebook PC to an even smaller level. A netbook typically has a screen that is less than 10 inches wide diagonally, carries no optical drive, and runs on Intel Corp’s Atom processor. Most employ either Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system or a version of open-source Linux-based software and weigh around 3 pounds or less.

      • Netbooks and Cloud Computing on the Rise
      • Freescale Chases $199 Netbook With New Processor

        The netbooks will support Linux, and Freescale is working with Canonical to develop a version of the OS for the Arm core. The devices won’t support Windows, however.

      • CES-Freescale chip targets sub-$200 netbook market
      • Freescale announcement heats up speculations about at Apple netbook

        The vendor also envisages budget notebooks with Ubuntu Linux and i.MX51 under people’s Christmas trees in 2009.


        The vendor suggests using the Ubuntu Linux operating system and also highlights the improved support of Adobe Flash (and AIR) for ARM cores. In recent months ARM announced co-operations with Adobe and Canonical to this effect. The GPU portion of the i.MX51 is planned to be OpenVR and OpenGL (ES) compatible. Linux drivers are also available for PowerVR MBX graphics. Pegatron, the component manufacturing division of Asus, is to supply an i.MX51 reference netbook.


        Freescale has denied the suggestion that it may be making an Apple Netbook, saying “Freescale’s current netbook approach is unambiguously an ARM/Linux play, and any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate.”


  • Stallman: ‘we still have a fight on our hands’

    While Linux Torvalds gets most of the plaudits nowadays for the Linux kernel, it was Stallman who originally posted plans for a new, and free, operating system. Free had nothing to do with the cost of the operating system, but with the implicit rights of those who were using the software to do with it exactly as they pleased. “I launched the development of the GNU operating system back in 1983 specifically to make it possible to use a computer without ceding these freedoms and accepting the dominion of the software’s developers,” he told us.

  • FreeBSD 7.1 released

    The FreeBSD project have released FreeBSD 7.1, an update to the FreeBSD 7 series of stable releases. Among the highlights of the release is support for DTrace inside the kernel, which has been imported from OpenSolaris. DTrace is a powerful tracing framework that allows developers and administrators to monitor the performance of a running operating system to a very fine level of detail.

  • DTrace gets guernsey in new FreeBSD

    The FreeBSD Project has released a new stable version of its popular Unix operating system, officially incorporating for the first time Sun Microsystems’ flagship DTrace performance analysis and debugging tool.

  • AccesStream Announces the Beta Release of its Open Source Identity Access Management Solution

    AccesStream, a provider of open source access management and security solutions, is pleased to announce the beta release of its identity access management solution to the open source community.

  • Hunches and predictions for open source in 2009

    # OpenSimulator will increasingly challenge Second Life for those who wish to host their own virtual worlds.
    # A new non-Java, non-Mono open source virtual world project will start to get serious traction this year.

  • Where the Tech Jobs Are, Part 1

    “In a recession, headcount looks like a cost center, but open source can turn employees into profit centers — or, at worst, into less costly cost centers,” he said.

    “For example, let’s say an enterprise needs [an enterprise content management] system, perhaps for outsourcing documentation or to build a new catalog system — or perhaps for a workflow system around approval of executive documents. Traditional IT would invite vendors to do a dog-and-pony show,” Asay explained, “ultimately culminating in a purchase of software licenses and services to make the licenses useful to the enterprise.” The IT staffer is then mostly responsible for coordinating others’ efforts, and the associated expenses.

    An open source savvy IT person, by contrast, would download an open source ECM solution and tweak it to save the company license and services fees — “and the risk that the software wouldn’t work as advertised,” said Asay.

  • Vyatta: Beating Cisco with open networks

    Vyatta, the open-source networking company, has been turning on the heat lately against Cisco, the networking giant. Even as Cisco expands beyond its networking base with collaboration products, Vyattas sole focus remains beating Cisco network performance at rock-bottom prices.

  • Kochi to have centre for training in free software

    A Centre for Advanced Training in Free and Open Source Software (CATFOSS) will be opened in Kochi soon. The new centre will be a joint venture of Kerala State IT Mission and Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT). It will be opened before 20th of this month, according to officials.


    The free software movement can have wide impact among the students, according to a computer engineer of the Indian Linux group—a group of free software campaigners—who did not want to be named.

  • Plug-ins

    • Open source video module for Drupal

      “With more than 15,000 sites already using our solutions and hundreds of new ones every day, it is clear that our open source platform is filling a void in the online video space,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and CEO.

    • Find Photos on Flickr for Use in OpenOffice.org Documents

      Flickr offers a vast collection of photos you can use with your OpenOffice.org documents, but trawling hundreds, if not thousands of photos in order to find the right one can be a rather tedious and time-consuming affair. Fortunately, the CCOOo extension can help you to find a photo you like on Flickr without leaving the convenience of your favorite productivity suite. More importantly, the extension finds only photos released under Creative Commons licenses, so you don’t have to worry about potential copyright issues.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Marcelo Marques, visionary security networks entrepreneur 08 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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A Single Comment

  1. David Gerard said,

    January 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm


    Link for you: http://microsoftfires.blogspot.com/ – a single anecdote rather than data, but it was from the Mini-Microsoft layoffs thread …

    Wine for games development is fine – Wine has quite a following amongst WoW players afraid of their b0x0r getting haxx0r3d by someone they piss off, which won’t happen with Linux.

    And I’ll tell you: if gamers get 2 FPS better performance in Wine than on Windows, they’ll be over in a trice.

    Also, there’s now a page on the Wine wiki for software that expressly supports Wine: http://wiki.winehq.org/AppsThatSupportWine

    With DTrace in FreeBSD, open sourcerers might wake up to it. It’s on OpenSolaris, but only embittered old Solaris admins like me use that (and I don’t either). DTrace really is INCREDIBLY COOL.

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