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Links 08/01/2009: Lots of GNU/Linux-based Sub-notebooks, Distro Reviews

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Microsoft’s Windows 7 Vista replacement plan

    No, if Microsoft really wants to make its customers happy, they should do what my friend Jason Perlow suggests, “since Windows 7 is essentially a performance and usability fix for a defective product, I’m of the increasing opinion that a Windows 7 upgrade should be free to anyone who was conned into buying Windows Vista.”

    You know, he has a good point. While I personally think you’d be a lot better off with buying a new Mac or moving over to Fedora, openSUSE or Ubuntu, if you still want to stick with Windows even after suffering with Vista, Microsoft should give you a copy of Windows 7 for free. After all, haven’t you suffered enough?

  • The 2008 Linux and free software timeline

    As always, 2008 proved to be an interesting year, with great progress in useful software that made our systems better. Of course, there were some of the usual conflicts—patent woes, project politics, and arguments over freedom—but overall, the pace of free software progress stayed on its upwardly increasing trend. 2008 was a year that saw the end of SCO—or not—the rise of Linux-based “netbooks”, multiple excellent distribution releases, more phones and embedded devices based on Linux, as well as major releases of software we will be using for years (X.org, Python, KDE, …). We look forward to seeing what 2009—and beyond!—will bring.

  • Turning Linux’s Advantages in to Advantages

    This is how you install and update software on Windows:

    1. Open a web browser.
    2. Download an executable file from an (often un-verified) source.
    3. Press next, next, next, next, next, next, next, next, finish.
    4. Launch your software.
    5. Wait for each individual piece of software to nag you about the latest update. (”Logitech is going to look for updates…,” “Adobe PDF Reader version 8.4 is available. Please install it now,” “QuickTime needs an update (hey, mind if we sneak Safari in there, too? *wink*)”)

    On Linux, on the other hand, it works something like this:

    1. Open Add/Remove programs.
    2. Press a check mark and hit apply.
    3. Launch your software.
    4. Sit back as your software is automatically updated.

  • Help On The Way: Five Great Linux Support Sites

    Linux support and documentation sites are a dime a dozen — and some aren’t worth much more than that. Here are a few sites that really give you your money’s worth . . . or at least they would, if most of the content wasn’t already free.

    This certainly isn’t a complete list of quality online Linux support resources. Think of it as a snapshot of some of my current favorites; even if these don’t deliver what you need, they at least show you what to expect when you go looking for other, similar, Linux support sites.

  • Multiseat Computer for 12 users

    12 users can work on one computer : surfing, mailing or office jobs.
    Needs only 410Watt. With Debian or Ubuntu Os and the newest software as Firefox 3 ,Openoffice 3.0 and Gimp.

  • Turn Your Linux Desktop into an Alarm Clock

    Several months ago, I posted here a rather geeky tip on how to turn your Linux box into an alarm clock using a Python script. This time, I’ll keep it simple by showing to you some free and open-source programs that you can easily install and use to make your Linux desktop as an alternative or shall I say an improvised alarm clock.

  • iTWire journo nominates for Linux Australia council

    Linux Australia is undergoing its annual election process; if you’re a member be sure to register your vote to further the cause of Linux in 2009! (Plus! iTWire columnist nominates!)

    Linux Australia is the peak body for Linux User Groups (LUGs) around Australia. This is a total membership of some 5,000 users, developers, students and just generally passionate Linuxphiles.

  • HyperSpace

    • CES: PCs Load Apps Even Before Windows Starts

      HyperSpace and Windows can’t run at the same time, but HyperSpace could still act just like new quick start options from Lenovo and Sony, which load a small subset of applications into a Linux-based environment for the times when a user doesn’t need the full firepower of Windows and Windows apps.

    • Is Phoenix about to Enter GPL Violation HyperSpace?

      If ultraportables were last year’s big surprise success for GNU/Linux, one of the potentially exciting technologies for this year is the instant-on pre-operating system that loads in seconds when you power up a desktop or portable. DeviceVM’s Splashtop is probably the best known example. These are highly relevant to the free software world, since such instant-on systems are usually based on GNU/Linux, and once people start trying them out, they may simply stay there using the free software apps available, rather than wait minutes for the full glory of Windows Vista to chunder into its vitiated life.


      The last point is the interesting one. Does Phoenix hope to get away without respecting the GNU GPL?

  • Cisco

    • Should open source boycott Cisco’s contest?

      While lawyers debate the merits of the FSF’s suit against Cisco, open source developers may be asking themselves how they can make their views heard.

      Here’s an idea. Boycott Cisco’s contest.

    • Cisco: Huge international interest in developer contest

      Cisco Systems Inc. has claimed that international interest in its recently launched contest for router-centric application development has been so strong that it must extend the first-phase deadline from Jan. 12 to Feb. 27.

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux On Windows Desktop

      Puppy Linux is an interesting Linux distribution which offers multiple features, despite of its low file size (around 99 MB). An average computer user will find enough flexibility and an increased speed during the execution of common tasks like web browsing, text processing, image editing and more.

      Puppy Linux integrates many simple to use applications useful for office related tasks, multimedia playback, gaming and networking. It has many installation options too.

    • gOS Gadgets aims Ubuntu at cloud computing

      Overall, gOS represents an intriguing Ubuntu re-spin. Its most significant contribution will probably be its use as a proof-of-concept platform for netbooks, netpads, and MIDs intended to run mostly web-based applications — what might be called mobile “cloud computing” devices.

    • SimplyMEPIS 8.0 – Review

      If you’re a Linux enthusiast, you have probably heard of SimplyMEPIS. It is a Debian-based distribution, aiming at being simple and usable out of the box. Currently, version 7.0 is available to the users, with advanced betas of version 8.0 getting ever more ready toward the release.


      SimplyMEPIS is a nice distro. It’s neither spectacular nor catastrophic. It sits somewhere in the middle between very simple and very un-simple distros. Compared to Ubuntu or SUSE, it does lag somewhat behind.

      The greatest disappointment are the bleak live session and the clumsy network support, which could have been so easily avoided. On the other hand, it does come with lots of goodies pre-baked, like Flash or MP3 codecs. When it comes to configurations, the layout of menus and the wording used are not very intuitive. Yet, it is fast and good-looking.

    • MoLinux 4.2: Linux de La Mancha

      I like the idea of regional governments offering a personlized, free operating system based on a well-established distribution. MoLinux doesn’t dilute the Ubuntu pool so much as uses it as a base upon which to improve.

      The introductory window is something I’d like to see in Ubuntu proper, and I’m pretty sure the idea has been suggested before. That’s the beauty of open-source. Nothing is stopping someone from translating that tutorial and tossing it back upstream.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • DLNA router technology runs Linux

      At CES, fabless chip-maker Mindspeed Technologies will demonstrate a prototype of a consumer DLNA router that combines its Comcerto 100 broadband processor with Wind River’s Platform for Consumer Devices, Linux Edition. The media sharing demonstration will also feature DigiOn’s DiXiM Media Server (DMS), says Mindpeed.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Refocusing on our mission
      • Computer makers set to launch Netbook 2.0

        The netbook category is posing a challenge for Microsoft, the biggest software group, as manufacturers turn to alternatives to its Windows operating system, writes Chris Nuttall.

        To help cut costs, the free Linux operating system is featured in many products, while the use of flash memory rather than hard drives along with ‘virtualisation’ techniques means that Windows is being bypassed in others.

        Consumers are beginning to associate netbooks with “instant-on” features, which mean that they can be used in a few seconds rather than waiting a few minutes for Windows to be booted.

      • EMTEC unveils new Gdium netbook

        It appears that EMTEC’s new Gdium netbook is ready for prime-time, or in this case, ready for display at CES. We went hands-on with a non-functioning prototype of the Gdium last August at IFA 2008 and now have pictures and specs for what appears to be the final product.

      • eRacks Offers Top Netbooks Preinstalled with Ubuntu and Fedora Linux

        eRacks Open Source Systems is now offering Asus, MSI, and Acer Netbooks preinstalled with Ubuntu or Fedora Linux. eRacks’ netbooks use Intel’s new Atom processor and are smaller, lighter, and more portable than laptops. Netbooks are also significantly less expensive but can easily handle the daily tasks like web-browsing, email, writing documents and spreadsheets. Other vendors sell netbooks with a simplified version of Linux, such as Linpus, but eRacks goes the extra step and configures the fully functional Linux operating system on its netbooks.

      • How To: Become a Linux Netbook Power User

        So, the season of giving has just come and gone, and you’ve received a Linux-based netbook—the popular new class of ultra-cheap, ultra-portable computer. By definition, netbooks are very limited in what they can do; they’re primary meant for accessing the web as well as some moderate office and multimedia use. Their low-speed processor and minimal memory means that they’re just not suited for more intensive applications like gaming or video editing.

      • CES 2009: Nova Updates Rugged UMPC with New SideArm 2

        It is being called the SideArm 2 and it will, depending upon the needs of the user, support either Windows Vista, Windows XP or Linux.

    • Phones

      • Qualcomm Runs Android on Netbook Chip

        Qualcomm said today it is running Google’s Android platform on its Snapdragon chipset designed for netbooks and mobile Internet devices. This isn’t earth-shattering since Snapgragon is an ARM-based chip, and another Qualcomm ARM-based chip powers the G1 Android phone. Qualcomm is also a big Android backer through the Open Handset Alliance.

      • Mot taps Linux for rugged mobile phone

        Motorola is readying a rugged, weather-resistant 3G HSDPA clamshell phone for ATT Mobility. Targeting outdoor enthusiasts, contractors, and (cruel but true) “teenagers,” the Motorola Tundra VA76r runs Linux, and offers aGPS, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera, and Push to Talk (PTT), says Motorola.


  • Cfengine Launches Commercial Open Source Company

    Cfengine is open-source (GPL) software for configuring, monitoring and autonomically maintaining computers. It’s been around for over 15 years and is pretty prevalent among Unix administrators with a lot of machines to manage. The concept around CFengine involves having a centralized configuration that can propagate out to servers a common use would be to develop a template or set of templates that can be used to “build” a server.

  • 25 essential Firefox add-ons for power users

    A bare copy of Firefox is a wonderful thing, but when you start stuffing it with add-ons it gets even better.

    So what are the best add-ons for power users? Here’s our top 25:

    1. All-in-one Sidebar

    All-in-one Sidebar makes Firefox’s Sidebar more useful by displaying pretty much anything you might want: source code, downloads, add-ons, page info, entire web pages…

  • Open Source, Less Labor, More Love

    Open source software is inextricably tied to the idea of “giving it away.” Projects open their code for a number of reasons — to better the codebase, or to allow others to bend an application to their own needs. Maybe the reasons are entirely altruistic, or maybe the altruism is the happy side effect of more project-centric decisions.

  • Bug Labs Open Source Gadgets Getting Pico Projector, 3G modules and More

    Bug Labs, the system of open source gadget building blocks, is getting pico projector, speaker, 3G, combo Bluetooth/WiFi and a 802.15.4 radio module.

    The pico projector and 3G modules are the most interesting of the group. The DLP powered display has a 480×320 resolution, 9 lumens and integrated stereo sound. The 3G modules can be used to send text messages but also place calls and of course, transmit data.

  • Open Cloud Conundrum, Open Cloud Consortium

    One of the hot areas in 2008 was cloud computing, and 2009 looks likely to be a year that is equally occupied with the subject. But cloud computing represents something of a conundrum for the open source world.

    Much of it is built using free software infrastructure – naturally enough, since it scales well both in terms of performance and cost. But it’s not clear from a legal viewpoint whether providing cloud computing services constitutes distributing software in the sense of traditional free software licences like the GNU GPL.

  • Wireshark

    The open source network protocol analyzer is backed by support, training, and complementary products from CACE Technologies.

  • Medical

    • VistA now all open source

      The big open source struggle that began with Linux, moved to enterprise applications and then the consumer space, is now pointed directly at the heads of doctors and hospitals.

      VistA, the public record EHR and hospital management software created by the Veterans Administration, is once again an open source movement with word that DSS, its biggest commercial licenser, is switching to the Eclipse Public License.

    • Healthcare Conference to Focus on Open Source Solutions

      Panels, presentations, and Birds of a Feather meetings are certainly the highlight of next month’s Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), but that’s not the only thing happening during the event. The Demonstrating Open Source Health Care Solutions (DOHCS) conference will be co-located with SCALE and both will get underway on Friday, February 20, 2009.

  • Vietnam

    • Vietnam mandates government adoption of open source

      Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications is aiming to migrate the country’s government to open source software by the end of 2010. The ambitious plan, which was reported Wednesday by VietnamNet calls for rapid adoption of open source software and extensive training to ensure that IT staff and government employees will be able to adjust to the change.

    • Vietnam goes “100 per cent open source” by 2010

      Vietnam’s government is going “100 per cent open source”. VietnamNet Bridge reports that the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications has set out an aggressive policy to go “100 per cent open source” by December 31st 2010.

  • Graphics

    • Tungsten Creates New VIA 3D Stack

      Thomas Hellström of Tungsten Graphics is preparing to release a new DRM module and Mesa 3D driver that supports some of VIA’s older hardware — and eventually their newest graphics processors.

    • FSF, SGI Cooperated to Resolve Licensing Issue in X.org, Mesa

      The FSF is obviously thrilled by the news. “We couldn’t be happier with this decision, and we’re very grateful to SGI for all their assistance,” the FSF states, “The FSF is committed to ensuring that everyone’s computing tasks can be done with free software and this SGI code plays an important role in scientific and design applications and in the latest desktop environments and games.”

  • Annual

    • 10 predictions for Linux and open source in 2009

      Jack Wallen believes that the new year holds a great deal of promise for the Linux OS and open source software — from an explosion in the mobile arena to large-enterprise scalability to widespread adoption of OpenOffice 3. See if you agree with his outlook.

    • OpenOffice.org : What was done in 2008

      First of all I want to wish everybody a happy and successful new year. When I talk about successful I have to highlight the last year. 2008 was a great success for OpenOffice.org. Mid of October OOo 3.0 was released and until now more than 28 million downloads were done. If this isn’t a success!

      Beside this event 5 other releases were done for OOo. So there were a lot work for the QA and release teams last year. 6 releases are more than in the past years!


  • Reznor ‘Leaks’ 400 GB Of High Def Concert Footage

    Trent Reznor is making it awfully difficult for me to finish the presentation I’m giving about him next week at MidemNet, because he keeps on doing stuff that should be mentioned in that presentation (I may have to ask the MidemNet folks for more time!).

  • Is The FTC Interested In Protecting Consumers From Bad DRM?

    We’re so used to hearing the government fall for the industry propaganda about the need for DRM that it’s almost… shocking, to hear that the FTC is even willing to consider the question of whether or not it should be involved in protecting consumers from DRM.

  • Trusted Computing Not So Trustworthy

    As pretty much anyone in computer security recognizes, any bit of “secure” computing is only secure for a limited period of time.

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Digital Tipping Point: Lena Zuniga, Program Officer for Bellanet 04 (2004)

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