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01.09.09

Links 09/01/2009: Palm’s Linux Debut, Chrome for GNU/Linux Nearer

Posted in News Roundup at 10:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • A New, Easy To Use Disk Formatter For GNOME

    GParted is an excellent GNOME program for editing partitions, changing file-systems, and performing related disk tasks. However, GParted is not exactly the ideal program for new Linux users to familiarize themselves with if all they want to do is format a USB drive or external storage device. Fortunately, a new GNOME utility has come about that supersedes GFloppy and is designed to be a simple yet powerful disk formatting utility. In this article we are taking an introductory look at GNOME Format.

  • Boxee now open to all Ubuntu, Mac, ATV users

    Boxee has just opened up its free A/V media center platform to all Ubuntu, Mac, and AppleTV users. Additionally, Boxee for Windows has entered “private-alpha” phase, during which prospective users apply for the software online and wait for a download link.

  • Boxee: Open Source Connected TV
  • 2009 Landmarks

    • The New Year Linux Resolution: Day 5

      The plan: Ring in the new year by switching over to Linux for a week, documenting each day of the transition.

    • Biting into the Linux Sandwich of 2009

      On the bottom, at the low end of the IT and electronics industry, we see Linux prominent in netbooks, where it is generally agreed the OS has about 30% market share. This continues to be an unprecedented ‘desktop’ opportunity for Linux among consumers as well as its usual geek following. Another place where we see some preference by manufacturers and other vendors for Linux is in lower-end and basic feature phones, which do not necessarily have the pizazz of an iPhone or BlackBerry, but present opportunity with basic phone, camera, GPS, Internet and other capabilities, particularly in emerging markets. Mobile Linux is not limited to the low end of mobile as we see the work from the LiMO Foundation, Open Handset Alliance with Google’s Android and the large swath of hardware, software and services vendors that are members. These vendors and consortia, as well as the soon-to-be open sourced Symbian from Nokia and Symbian Foundation, are all using Linux and open source to create compelling smartphones and applications. This week’s CES provides further evidence that both form factors — netbooks and smartphones — will drive significant growth for Linux this year.

  • Conferences/Events

    • Red Hat to Host Second Life-like Virtual JBoss Trade Show

      Red Hat is stealing a page from the Second Life playbook and will host an online conference for users and partners of its JBoss Java-based middleware products in which people will have their own avatars and can virtually attend a conference as if it was a live trade show.

    • LCA2009: geeking your ride

      Not for nothing is Jonathan Oxer known as Australia’s geekiest man. Practically every aspect of his life at home is controlled by software – he even uses an RFID chip implanted in his arm to open his door.

  • Graphics

    • NVIDIA 180.22 x86/x86_64 Linux Driver Released

      Up to this point NVIDIA had released several betas in the 180.xx driver series that introduced VDPAU acceleration support, OpenGL 3.0, CUDA 2.1, and other Linux work. This afternoon all of these new features are finally supported by NVIDIA with the release of the first stable Linux driver in this latest series.

    • New Nvidia driver for Linux
    • Mesa 7.3 Gets Primed With GLSL 1.20, GEM, DRI2

      It’s been over four months since Mesa 7.1 was released and about three months since Mesa 7.2 (the stabilized version of 7.1), but now Mesa 7.3 is getting primed and ready to enter the limelight. As the first step, Mesa 7.3 Release Candidate 1 will be pushed out shortly.

  • Distributions

    • Available Now: Absolute Linux 12.2.1

      Paul Sherman, father of the Absolute Linux, announced on January 8th, a new bug fix release of his Slackware-based operating system. Absolute Linux 12.2.1 delivers updated versions for the Pidgin (2.5.2), Samba (3.2.7), the GIMP (2.6.4), WPClipart (7.1), Audacity (1.3.6) applications and the following Mozilla products: Firefox 3.0.5, Thunderbird 2.0.0.19, Seamonkey 1.1.14. Moreover, this point release version of Absolute Linux 12.2 updates the PTP camera auto-mounting feature, the wireless/wired networking manager (wicd 1.5.8) and it also introduces a newer version of the Help System, which is now located on the second disc and works properly. Last but not least, wxPython was updated to version 2.8.9.1 and it replaces the older wxPython and wxGTK packages.

    • Ubuntu

      • Kubuntu 8.10 vs Mepis 7.9.94 vs Puppy 4.1.2

        Okay, how about a smack down between 3 of my favorite distros? Okay, Kubuntu is not my favorite as this is the first time I’ve tried it, but it is a biggy. I have ragged and ragged on Ubuntu even though I have tried to like it. I do prefer KDE, so I’m going to give that an honest look and see if that warms me up to the Ubuntu brand. I’m pitting this distro giant against Mepis which has been a fav of mine since discovering Linux and is responsible for me falling for KDE. The release I’m running is 7.9.94 which is the RC1 of 8.0. Not quite as stable or developed so the advantage goes here to Kubuntu before we even start. Puppy has been my light weight fav for a long time and is an odd one out in this little comparison. But we’ll see how well this little distro measures up. Since I’m running totally off of live CD’s, Puppy actually gets an advantage as it runs totally in RAM.

      • Migration Assistant In Ubuntu 9.04

        When checking out a recent daily LiveCD of Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope), the migration wizard found in the Ubiquity installer now supports migrating files from an Ubuntu installation.

      • Artwork for Ubuntu Jaunty Already Impressive

        Just before Intrepid Ibex came out, I had a few things to say about the new artwork. In a last-minute switch, things improved a little, but I was still never impressed with Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex in the way that Fedora 10 or Ubuntu Hardy Heron impressed me. It seems we are barely even started into the new release cycle, yet I can already say there are some very promising choices. Below are a selection of my favorites: (A number are proposed specifically for the betas, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be used.)

      • Turn Your Ubuntu Intrepid Into Mac OSX Leopard

        This is an updated version of my previous post Turn Ubuntu Hardy into Mac OSX.

        That post was written six months ago and many things have changed during this period of time: release of Ubuntu Intrepid, newer Mac4Lin theme, better globalmenu applet etc. As such, I have decided to rewrite this tutorial for the Intrepid platform.

      • Ways YOU can contribute to Ubuntu!

        I thought I might make a list of ways to contribute to Ubuntu (or Linux in general), and provide my thoughts on them. I’ve tried to list them in rough order of “difficulty”, from easy to hard, where difficulty means how much effort it takes.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • WiFi digital camera runs Linux

      Sony Electronics is shipping a digital still camera with WiFi for uploading files to photo-sharing services. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3 offers 10-megapixel recording, a 4X optical zoom, DLNA compliance, 4GB of memory, and face- and scene-recognition software that runs on Linux.

    • Skype ships beta for MIDs

      eBay subsidiary Skype is beta-testing a “Moblin” version of its proprietary VoIP softphone. Skype 1.0 Beta for Intel-based MIDs (mobile Internet devices) is claimed to offer excellent, free video calling, thanks to the high-performance processors and high-bandwidth 3G/4G/WiMAX wireless networking capabilities MIDs are expected to have.

    • Volante Announces Java-Based, Wireless Linux POS Solution

      Volante offers a Java-based, wireless point of sale solution for Linux.

    • Touchscreen Net radio design runs Linux

      Fluffy Spider Technologies (FST) and Zylux Acoustic have jointly developed a hardware/software Internet radio reference design that runs FST’s FancyPants lightweight graphics stack on Linux. The “Rich Internet Appliance” design combines Internet Radio with YouTube video and Picasa image search and display features, says FST.

    • DPF design runs Linux on ARM11

      Chumby is demonstrating an Internet-connected digital photo frame (DPF) hardware-software reference design developed with Samsung Electronics. Based on Samsung’s ARM11-based S3C6410 system-on-chip (SoC) and Chumby’s Linux-based “push” info-tainment stack, the design can deliver content feeds from Web-based services such as Flickr, the companies say.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Even ViewSonic is jumping into netbook game
      • ASUS`s Eee Box Brings Atom to the Desktop

        For the Linux crowd, Asus has incorporated their ExpressGate technology into the Eee box. ExpressGate is an embedded Linux OS that boots from the motherboard and brings up a fully functioning OS with embedded applications (such as FireFox and Skype) in a matter of seconds.

      • Freescale, Intel count on netbook to lift sales

        Chipmakers are staking out their turf in the burgeoning “netbook” computer market as consumers scramble for companion devices for laptops and smart phones.

        The tech companies have invested millions of dollars to roll out new processors for netbooks, which are half the size of a notebook computer but bigger than an iPhone or BlackBerry.

        [...]

        Netbooks using Freescale’s model will only be able to run on Linux. ARM-based processors also require special software add-ons for some social-networking applications such as Facebook, said Bill Kircos, an Intel spokesman in Arizona.

      • Gdium Liberty Netbook Uses USB Key for a Hard Drive

        Here’s a netbook with a twist: Emtec’s 10-inch Gdium Liberty has no hard drive. Instead, it will ship with a bootable USB storage stick (dubbed the G-Key) that runs Mandriva G-Linux and has over 50 open-source applications pre-installed: including OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and Spam Assassin.

      • 20 “Really Cool” Netbook-optimized Linux Wallpapers

        If you want some high-quality Linux wallpapers for your large monitors, you can visit my collection of “25 Coolest Linux Wallpapers”. However, if you happen to own a netbook, it is best to use medium-sized wallpapers that are optimized for small display. Because of that, I decided to collect and share to you all some really fresh, cool, and cute Linux wallpapers that will surely look good on any netbook monitor. –No more resizing hassles.

      • Ubuntu

        • Eeebuntu 2.0 SD Card Installation on the Aspire One

          To supplement storage space with the initial purchase of the Aspire One (8 GB SSD version), I bought a 16 GB Transcend TS16GBSDHC6 card that integrates nicely into the left card slot. The pre-installed Linux Linpus just wasn’t what I needed since I use many networking tools at work and at home. I initially ran Ubuntu 8.041 with the /home partition on the 16 GB SDHC card. I discovered Eeebuntu while searching for information on how to boot and run Linux off a SDHC card. The goal was of multi-boot installations of Ubuntu, with one install specifically loaded with the tools I use at work. The Acer Aspire One BIOS does not ‘see’ the card, so you can’t boot from it using the [F12] startup key (More on the SDHC boot up further in this article).

        • Dell’s Ubuntu Mini 9 gets more storage and memory

          The guys over at NetbookNews.it have noticed that Dell’s Ubuntu based Mini 9 netbook can now be equipped with a 64GB solid state drive and up to 2GB of memory.

          Unlike the Windows XP version of Dell’s Mini 9 which is rather crippled and limited to 16GB/160GB and 1GB of memory options, the Ubuntu Dell Mini 9 can now be upgraded to 2GB of memory and up to 64GB of solid state drive capacity. The new features will of course lift the price tag to over US $500 but it is nice to know that you at least can go for it.

        • Dell Mini 9 gets 64GB SSD option for Linux, same ‘ol for Windows

          Looking for a little more room to grow in a netbook yet still can’t get over the fear of spinning platters that’s plagued you for years? So long as your odd phobias don’t also include open source software Dell has your fix with the Mini 9, now available with a $75 64GB SSD option when purchasing a model sporting Ubuntu.

        • Easy Peasy Eeebuntu Netbooks

          Recently I purchased an eeepc 1000H and was quite impressed with the new and different operating system. I hail from a windows only background and anything apart from the Microsoft offerings I have left well alone, until NOW. The eee came with something called xandros installed and although fairly basic it did give me a taste of linux and I wanted more.

    • Palm

      • New 3G Palm Pre Enters Smart Phone War

        Palm today announced its long-awaited new operating system–called Web OS–as well as the new Palm Pre smart phone to match. The Pre will be available exclusively on the Sprint 3G Network in first half of 2009. The announcement was made at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show.

      • CES09: Palm silences doubters with new OS and phone

        But the big news is the operating system that will run on Pre. The Palm web OS has been years in the making and was designed specifically with the mobile web in mind. Its aim is to create a near “invisible” interface that is seamless, intuitive and almost a step ahead of users.

        I will get into the OS in a longer story later, but I found it incorporates some of the best stuff in the iPhone and Google’s Android platform. The Pre apparently has a capacitive touch so the Palm web OS works very smoothly with flicks, swipes and the ever-popular pinching maneuver.

      • Palm Announces WebOS and Pre Phone
    • Phones

      • Kogan Agora critics may be barking up the wrong tree

        ‘Spy’ photos of the forthcoming Android-based Kogan Agora caused a kerfuffle, but there’s a noticeable difference between what was shown and what will ship.

      • OpenMoko

        • “Social electronics,” open source, and Linux smartphones

          OpenMoko CEO Sean Moss-Pultz responded to some questions from OpenMoko community members in a lengthy status update posted to the project’s mailing list. In the message, he provides insight into some plans for the future and also shares his views about the project’s recent struggles and successes.

        • A second Android phone tips up

          THERE’S NOW a second Android phone on the market, and this one is from an unlikely source, FIC. Yeah, OpenMoko Freerunner has Android up and running without being locked.

F/OSS

  • DVCS adoption is soaring among open source projects

    Distributed version control systems (DVCS) are being adopted at a rapid pace by the open source software community. A large number of prominent open source projects are abandoning legacy management systems such as Subversion and CVS in favor of more powerful decentralized alternatives. The most popular of these are Git, Bazaar and Mercurial.

  • Consortium tackles cloud computing standards

    That’s one of the questions being examined by the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC), a newly formed group of universities that is both trying to improve the performance of storage and computing clouds spread across geographically disparate data centers and promote open frameworks that will let clouds operated by different entities work seamlessly together.

  • Announcing DebGem (beta), the RubyGem-to-Apt conversion service

    Installing Ruby/Rails software on Debian and Ubuntu Linux distributions has been less than ideal until now. Ruby has a package manager called RubyGems, but Debian-based distributions have their own package manager, namely Apt, which manages the entire system and is preferred by most Debian users. RubyGems does not integrate well with Apt and cannot handle native Debian package dependencies. But on the other hand, Ruby software provided through the current Debian Apt repositories are not always up-to-date, e.g. the latest Rails version is often not available.

  • Education

    • 10 open source e-learning projects to watch

      As corporate and government organizations embrace the Web for delivering more education and training programs, a wealth of free and open source e-learning applications will help lower the barrier to entry. TechWorld looks at the options.

    • Open source community pushes Canberra on school computer fund

      We urge you to consider the cost-saving implications of advocating the use of free and open source software in schools to further the aims of the digital education revolution and maximise the impact of this critical investment in the future.

  • Applications

Leftovers

  • UK e-mail law ‘attack on rights’

    Rules forcing internet companies to keep details of every e-mail sent in the UK are a waste of money and an attack on civil liberties, say critics.

  • Apple Shows Us DRM’s True Colors

    At this week’s Macworld Expo, Apple announced that by April, music from the iTunes Store will no longer be shackled by digital rights management (DRM). Finally, DRM is good and fully dead for digital music — gone from CDs, gone from downloads, and largely dead for streaming.

    Apple’s announcement comes nearly a year after Amazon.com’s DRM-free MP3 deals went live, demonstrating that the record labels were holding the DRM card until they could wring business concessions from Apple (in the form of variable pricing). This just underscores that DRM is not really about stopping piracy, but rather about leverage over authorized distributors.

    In fact, an inventory of Apple’s remaining DRM armory makes it vividly clear that DRM (backed by the DMCA) is almost always about eliminating legitimate competition, hobbling interoperability, and creating de facto technology monopolies:

    * Apple uses DRM to lock iPhones to AT&T and Apple’s iTunes App Store;
    * Apple uses DRM to prevent recent iPods from syncing with software other than iTunes (Apple claims it violates the DMCA to reverse engineer the hashing mechanism);

  • My comment to the FCC on DRM

    DRM is a disaster for everyone involved with it, because it cannot do what it claims but imposes large costs in the process of failing. The people who have sold DRM technologies to Big Media are frauds playing on the ignorance of media executives, and both the media companies and the consumer have suffered greatly and unnecessarily as a result.

    DRM cannot do what it claims for at least three reasons. First, pirates readily bypass it by duplicating physical media. Second, DRM algorithms cannot “see” any data that the host device does not present to them; thus, they can always be spoofed by a computer emulating an environment in which the DRM algorithm thinks release is authorized. Third, for humans to view or hear the content it must at some point exit the digital realm of DRM to a screen and speakers; re-capturing the data stream at that point bypasses any possible protections.

  • RIAA throws in the towel

    THE MUSIC MAFIAA gave up on one of its oppressive copyright infringement lawsuits the other day by requesting dismissal of Atlantic Recording v Brennan in a Connecticut federal court.

  • Taxing ISPs To Fund Newspapers?

    In trying to explain why a music tax is a bad idea, I pointed out that if you start with music, you quickly have to start adding pretty much every industry disrupted by the internet. The obvious one is movies, but what about newspapers? They’re struggling due to the internet, so why can’t they demand an ISP tax to support newspapers? The idea, of course, is that this was a ludicrous suggestion… but apparently some people have thought seriously about it.

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