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Links 12/02/2009: GNU/Linux in Cuba; Mozilla Justifies EU Action

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Hands on: Neuros LINK, an Ubuntu-based media extender

    Ars reviews the Neuros LINK, a set-top box that runs the Ubuntu Linux distribution. The LINK brings Web-based streaming media services like Hulu to your TV and can easily be repurposed to run Boxee and other popular Linux media software.


    The Neuros.tv service is minimalistic, but it’s a convenient way to navigate to Internet content. It allows you to search for streaming media by typing in the name of a movie or television show, and then it will display available results from all of the supported services. The search box has a smart autocompletion feature that will offer suggestions.

  • Ear Candy makes your Gnome Desktop a little bit smarter

    Since this funny project has already been reviewed by some other blogger, I thought I could drop some word as well.

    Some time ago in the #rapache-devel channel Jason, which is the author of many of the nice features found in Rapache, came up with the idea of leveraging PulseAudio and do something with it.

  • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha4 vs. Windows 7 Beta

    What are you going to use this summer? Ubuntu 9.04 will be released at the end of April and Windows 7 is rumored to be out at the end of July. With the release dates so close together, which would you prefer to run? To make the decision easier, I’ve tried to objectively compare Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha4 and Windows 7 Beta, both released at the end of January.

  • Dell

    • Windows and Linux on the Same Laptop? You bettcha!

      The EE Times reported earlier this week that the Dell E4200 and E4300 laptops are running both Linux and Windows on the same machine. Why both you ask? The Linux OS provides a quick boot for checking email and other “light” computing duties while the Windows side allows “heavier duty” computing like running Microsoft Office applications. It runs with two chips, one from ARM and one from Intel. The ARM chip, provides instant on booting and is much more power efficient, while the Intel chip provides the juice to run apps that require more computing power.

    • Dell’s hybrid laptops: Intel + ARM, Windows + Linux

      Dell is offering Windows-Linux hybrid laptops that use both Intel and ARM processors. Though the user would never know it.

      As pointed out in this EE Times report, entitled “Dell has dragged the Linux-ARM Trojan horse inside the Wintel PC,” Dell is offering a processor-plus-OS subsystem separate from the main Windows-Intel system.

  • Applications

    • 23 Useful System Applications for Linux

      I earlier wrote about Top 5 BitTorrent Clients for Ubuntu Linux, 7 Awesome 3D Graphic Design Applications for Linux , 23 Free Ubuntu Linux Login Screens and Top 10 Free Video Editors for Linux . It’s always great to have Linux Alternatives to popular applications so I’ve decided to write about some of the most useful System applications for Linux including Cd burners, Aniti Virus, FTP solutions and instant messengers that you can download today.

    • Sweet home 3D interior home designer – design your home without architects

      Sweet Home 3D is powerful and easy to learn open source cross platform 3D software tool. It’s a free interior design application that helps you placing your furniture on a 2D house plan, with a 3D preview! Install it and be your own architect who can create the perfect house plan that will exactly fit all your needs and preferences.

    • Graphic Design For The Clueless: An Introduction To Inkscape

      One of the reasons I haven’t been posting as many Linux reviews as usual so far in 2009 is because I have been spending a lot of what little free time I get learning how to use Inkscape.

    • 10 Songbird add-ons for a better audio player

      Slowly but steadily, Mozilla grew into more areas of interest than someone could have previously imagined. Firefox, Thunderbird, Instabird for instant messaging and… Songbird. The latter is a promising audio application some of you might have gotten yourselves accustomed to. The 1.0.0 release launched in the first days of December delivers an impressive arsenal ranging from themes to add-ons.

  • International

    • Nova: Cubans roll their own Linux

      Reuters report today, 12th February 2009, that the government of Cuba aims to replace the, all pervasive Microsoft software, running on its administrative infrastructure, with its own Linux distribution. The Cuban distribution, called Nova and apparently a Gentoo variant of Linux, was introduce recently at the annual International Conference on Communication and Technologies in Havana.

    • Cuba Launches Own Linux Variant to Counter U.S.

      A Linux operating system variant called Nova, introduced in Cuba at a computer conference on technological sovereignty, is part of an effort to replace the Microsoft software running most of Cuba’s computers. The Cuban government views the use of Microsoft systems as a potential threat because it says U.S. security agencies have access to Microsoft codes.

    • Linux in Viet Nam
    • Belarus Opens Free Software Laboratory

      [Via Google Translate: Belarusian State University opens lab to study the freely distributed operating systems (open systems standards). It was established at the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Informatics in cooperation with the Belarusian company "Clear Code" - a business partner of leading representatives of Linux-solutions.]

  • Desktop Environments

    • Special dev version 1.9.22-based with Compiz released

      Have you ever dreamed of Compiz-like effects in Enlightenment 17 ?

      After a good number of previous testing versions, reports, fixes, and features added, Elive finally releases the special version with E17 running over Compiz (ecomorph).

      Do you want more details? Just watch the video and see what it looks like!

    • Comparing the Window Managers: Which is Best for You?

      Are you unhappy with the functionality of your desktop? Are the menus distracting, the system slow to start, etc? Would you rather have a minimal layout? A faster boot speed? In that case, you need to look at the window managers available for Linux users.

      Window Managers are essentially the programs that control the way your menus and windows are arranged, moved, etc. They can completely change the feel of your computer, and be used to optimize your workspace for whatever you need it to do.

    • KDE 4.2

      I now use KDE 4.2 and haven’t looked back.

      Why? Keep reading.

    • Jaunty and Xfce 4.6

      Xfce 4.6 Release Candidate 1 is now in the Jaunty archive! I just upgraded to Jaunty (Hardy -> Intrepid -> Jaunty) the other day and am really digging the new version of Xfce4!

  • Distributions

    • Looking for 50 Windows & Linux applications Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop beta testers

      We hope that you are all doing ok in these difficult times. Maybe Ulteo can help you in some ways to achieve your professional goals.

      On our side we have been busy developing the Ulteo Open Virtual desktop beta for Windows applications or a mix Windows and Linux applications in the same desktop or from a web page. We are now looking for just 50 private beta users who commit to try and test it and send us feedback between Feb. 26 and March 7. 2009.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3: Screenshots

        In this screenshot gallery we take you through the install process and basic desktop functionality of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, which was released to customers in late January.

        RHEL 5.3 includes support for Intel’s latest chip architecture, Core i7, codenamed Nehalem. It also includes the Open Java Development Kit, an open-source implementation of Java SE 6 supported by Sun Microsystems. This inclusion is intended to support Red Hat’s Java application server, JBoss.

      • Review: Fedora 10

        This month’s Linux Format Magazine includes Fedora 10. I upgraded to Fedora 10 a few months ago via a yum upgrade. I started by looking at Xfce as I’ve been using Xfce non-stop ever since starting “I’m Not Mad” in November. Xfce is much lighter than Gnome and I’m able to use Blender more effectively. Fedora 10 comes with Xfce 4.4.3. Overall, nothing major has changed on the surface although I know they’ve been doing a lot of work under the hood.


        After writing this review I went in to read LXF’s review to see if I missed anything. The only other things they mentioned were that PackageKit and the Printer Adding dialog were much improved. I think PackageKit is a bit faster and a few tweaks make it a better experience vs Fedora 9, but it’s not THAT much of an improvement. LXF gave Fedora 10/10 and I think I’d probably give it a 9/10. So check it out – if you’ve been burned by unstable Fedora releases before, you’ll be pleasently surprised with Fedora 10. And now, I’m going back to Xfce….

    • Debian

      • Debian Lenny, coming Real Soon Now!

        With the release of ‘Lenny’ – the latest stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux – on Saturday (yes, that’s Valentine’s day – don’t forget!), Tom Callway speaks to the head of the Debian project, Steve MacIntyre.

        Why is the imminent release of Lenny a good thing for the Debian community?

        It’s the focus of lots of the work we’ve been doing for the last two years or so, with many new and updated versions of everybody’s favourite packages. We’ve translated more of our packages into more languages, and (as ever!) there are more packages available. That means we can cover more people’s needs, from home laptop or desktop system through to universities running massive scientific clusters and businesses depending on a very solid platform for their servers.

        Many members of our community are happy to run from our testing and unstable branches, but the stable releases are very important to the rest where they trust us to just make things work and keep them working.

      • Debian 4.0 Etch updates

        Shortly before the release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “Lenny” expected on Valentine’s Day, the Debian developers have released another update to Debian 4.0 “Etch”. The update comes only 7 weeks after the last update. Changes in Debian 4.0.r7 mainly include security updates and other bug fixes.

      • A touch of sadness as Lenny emerges

        Debian project leader (DPL) Steve Mcintyre said: “We will be dedicating the Lenny release to our long-term contributor and friend Thiemo Seufer, who was tragically killed in a car accident in Germany on December 26 last year.

        “He was responsible for much of the work on the Debian MIPS ports and was always happy to help, sharing his technical excellence and good humour with many of us over the years. Thiemo’s tireless efforts in Debian and many other projects will be sorely missed.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • eBook and Comic Book organizer for Linux includes exporting to Kindle and Sony eBook readers.

      RadicalCodex for Linux: eBook and Comic Book organizer includes exporting to Kindle and Sony eBook readers.

      Radical Breeze is pleased to announce the immediate availability of RadicalCodex 1.0 Beta 3.

    • Archos intends to develop an Android Tablet

      Archos, the French manufacturer of multimedia tablets, has announced plans for a portable media device that will run Googles open source Android operating system. The Archos Internet Media Tablet (IMT) is to be a multimedia player with Smartphone capabilities.

    • Set up Linutop in 5 Minutes

      Just because Linutop is based on Linux, it doesn’t mean it’s difficult to configure. In fact, the little machine comes with a custom Linutop Setup applet which allows you to configure virtually every aspect of the system in a matter of minutes.

    • Why Amazon Kindle succeeded and Microsoft SPOT did not

      Sometimes you kind of know a gadget is going to fail, simply because it launches at the wrong time. A great example would be the Microsoft SPOT watch which was essentially an expensive and ungainly data-casting wristwatch that could show very small amounts of news and weather data while you walked. Sounds OK, until you realise that it was launched at the same time as mobile phones were moving into data, as smartphones were appearing, as wifi was taking off.

    • Open source hardware club ships Gumstix-based handheld

      An open source hacker community has launched an online store to sell home-made gizmos, including a GPS-equipped baseboard (pictured) for the Linux-ready Gumstix Verdex processor module. GizmoForYou builds custom gadgets according to members suggestions, and sells the open-spec devices online, says the group.

    • ETech Preview: Why LCD is the Cool New Technology All Over Again

      In an early test of the OLPC XO in Nigeria, the student users dropped every laptop several times a day. Despite the laptops’ rugged construction, they occasionally needed fixing, and a group of six-year-old girls opened up a “hospital” to reseat cables and do other simpler repairs. Mary Lou Jepson, One Laptop Per Child project’s CTO, had this response: “I put extra screws underneath the battery cover so that if they lost one, they could have an extra one. And kids trade them almost like marbles, when they want to try to get something fixed in their laptop.”


      We eventually got her an Aspire One Linux version. And the question is it seems like there were a few minor tweaks like a 90 percent keyboard that would’ve made it something that could’ve still been used by kids, but would’ve given it a more general ability to be used?


      MLJ: I think enormous things can be done. For example, right now in front of me, I have my laptop on. Not a single pixel is changing on the screen and I run Linux, pretty nice. I run Ubuntu.


      JT: I was actually really amused that I got a big like a 50-inch last year and the last page of the manual has a GPL notice because it’s evidentially running a copy of Linux inside of it.

    • Real-time Linux gains accelerated graphics

      The Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) announced that the PREEMPT_RT patches have been stabilized with the mainline Linux 2.6.26 kernel. The newly available “latest stable” kernel is said to achieve latency as low as 39 microseconds, while inheriting several interesting new 2.6.26 kernel features.

    • Hack a Linux router for fun and profit

      Enter DD-WRT (whose wiki is great, but the root page is less than useful), and I am a happy wireless camper again. This is still Linux-based firmware, but unlike the other firmware I tried, all configuration is intended to be performed via the web interface, meaning that you can leave your Linux knowledge at the door.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Netbook Windfall

        Just the existence of desktop Linux—a second source for the OS, as PC builders have a second source for everything else—means a shift of negotiating power. There’s still a lot of network value in a copy of Microsoft Windows because of all the compatible products out there. But, thanks to hard-working Linux driver writers, “driverless” USB class-compliant devices, and the rise of web-based applications to take the place of shrink-wrapped Win32 applications, the difference in network value is less and less at the low end of the market. There’s a higher difference in Windows and Linux network value when you move up from a basic web browsing, word processing machine to either content creation (where more of the leading applications aren’t out for Linux) or small business (where customers want Windows-only vertical apps and Intuit QuickBooks.)

        So today, the negotiating power that PC builders get from the threat of desktop Linux is only at the low end. Jim Zemlin at the Linux Foundation goes straight to the source: a Microsoft earnings report. “Client revenue declined 8% as a result of PC market weakness and a continued shift to lower priced netbooks.” Even stuck at the low end, desktop Linux is making Microsoft’s product cheaper. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes, “Well, I think Microsoft is offering some very sweet deals to the OEMs to make sure that XP gets a lot of play.”

      • 12 of the best games for your Linux netbook

        We recently had a look at games that run smoothly on Windows netbooks, proving that Atom powered machines pack enough punch to be handheld console killers, much to consternation of the laptop industry.

        The myths persist, however, when it comes to their Linux-based brethren. The operating system is perceived as largely functional and, importantly, free rather than any fun at all, restricted purely to office tasks and web browsing.

      • Netbooks: A Curse or a Blessing in an Imploding PC Market?

        Linux has proved to be a very popular operating system choice on netbooks. Companies like Hewlett-Packard have even gone so far as to customize Linux on their systems in the hopes of a unique, distinctly un-Windows experience. The HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition computer, for example, actually runs on a modified version of Ubuntu Linux, but you would never know it.

      • The top ten netbook brands

        The operating-system choice is limited. Apple may surprise us any day, but so far haven’t entered the fray. Windows XP is most common on netbooks, though Acer, ASUS and HP have ones running on Linux. Windows Vista is sluggish on most laptops and would be useless on netbooks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source in India Today

    Over the past decade open source software has become popular with technology users in India. The benefits of open source – affordability, availability of source code and freedom of choice – have made open source a preferred platform for many innovative Indian organizations and individuals who want to harness the power of high quality software which can be freely adapted to their own requirements.

  • Snakebite network readied for open source projects

    Developers soon will have a network to go to for developing principally open source projects and testing their software on multiple platforms.

    The planned Snakebite network is intended to “provide developers of open source projects complete and unrestricted access to as many different platforms, operating systems, architectures, compilers, devices, databases, tools, and applications that they may need in order to optimally develop their software,” according to the Snakebite Web site, which also welcomes visitors to “the future of open source development.”

  • The Buzztard Project, Part 1

    In November 2008 the Buzztard project maintainers announced the public release of version 0.4.0 of their flagship application. This version of Buzztard brings new features and performance enhancements, including expanded support for original Buzz songs and machines and an impressive make-over of its GUI.

  • Over 15 Top Open Source Tools for Web Developers

    Recently, we covered research showing that nearly half of open source developers are focused on applications for delivery in the cloud.

  • Mozilla

    • Q&A on Mozilla and the European Commission

      What is Mozilla’s involvement in the EC’s complaint against Microsoft?

      We are following it closely and are obviously interested in the outcome. Mozilla has received “interested third party” status in the EC’s investigation. As a result, we may see the Statement of Objections confidentially. We may participate in a hearing if the EC concurs. Mozilla’s role as an interested third party best enables us to contribute our knowledge of the browser industry to the EC. Mozilla is not a complainant; we have not “joined the suit”, despite some reports to the contrary.

    • If someone fights unfairly and you nevertheless win, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve condemnation

      Anyone can easily see the fallacious reasoning here. The truth of course is that Microsoft is not simply abusing its market position to stiffle innovation on the browser space[1] but it has been doing so aggressively and for a very long and well documented time.

      Firefox managed to achieve market acceptance despite Microsoft’s monopoly on the space. When the new browser came out, it didn’t even register on the radar until the first major grass root advertising and word-of-mouth campaigns started. Even though it was vastly superior to any of MS’ offerings, its growth was slow and tortured, owning mostly to the fact that most webpages were “optimized” for IE and flat-out refused to work with Mozilla based browsers.

    • Why the Commission is doing the right thing on antitrust

      Free Software Foundation Europe has been supporting the European Commission’s DG Competition in its antitrust work since 2001, when it first offered its expertise to the former Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. In 2003 it brought the Samba team to the table, and our cooperation was able to provide the Commission with substantial evidence for its final decision in 2004. We stood by the side of the Commission in the European Court of First Instance when most of the industry had meanwhile accepted out-of-court settlements with Microsoft, and saw the case through to the end.

  • Business

    • Open source and open standards: the new economics of IT

      Is open source part of the answer to the financial crisis? Ingres thinks so.

    • Plain Black Updates Its Open Source CMS

      Hoping to bolster its position in the Web-based content management system market, Plain Black has rolled out a spruced-up version of its flagship product that makes it easier to maintain Web content and features a new point-of-sale cash register.

    • Open Source Mobile: Volantis Mobility Server 5.1 released, an interview with Mark Watson

      Volantis Mobility Server was released under the GPLv3 almost one year ago, so I asked Mark Watson, Volantis Systems CEO, about how things are going, and how going open source helped.

    • GroundWork Monitor 5.3 released

      GroundWork Monitor has been updated to version 5.3 with improvements to key areas. The network management software from GroundWork is available as a free Community Edition, as well as two commercial versions, GroundWork Monitor Professional and GroundWork Monitor Enterprise. The new release includes version 3.06 of the Nagios monitoring tools. Updated components include MySQL, RRDTool, PHP and the reporting tool BRIT. Installation has been simplified for new Linux servers, as all prerequisites are now included in a single package.

    • Open Source Monitoring: GroundWork 5.3 released, an interview with David Dennis

      I asked David Dennis, senior director of product marketing at Groundwork, more about GroundWork’s customer base, how GroundWork keeps pace with open source innovation and how GroundWork benefits from using the BitRock Network Service.

  • Licensing

    • Unravel open source licenses

      Under copyleft licensing, companies can modify and reproduce the software but must also make their own modified versions of the software available under the same copyleft licensing model.

      If there is no copyleft provision, it is necessary to distinguish between modifications–or add-ons to the original OSS source codes–and derived codes, which are resultant source codes created using all or part of the original source codes.


  • Advertising-paid music downloads ready

    FREE MUSIC DOWNLOAD COMPANY Qtrax has signed up the last major recording company to its service.

    The company miffed some players in the music industry when it launched last year before any of them had signed up to the deal.

  • IntraHealth Tackles Global Health Care: Aided by Music, Open Source, and Public Health Pioneers

    Public health workers are increasingly looking at open source solutions to aid in gathering data, analyzing trends, and publicizing and launching new health care initiatives worldwide.

    IntraHealth’s OPEN Initiative is taking a colorful approach to improving health services in developing nations — by bringing together health workers and (not at all health care specific) open source projects to train and support doctors and nurses using open source software in these areas. Because funding is always an issue (in public health and open source, alas) IntraHealth has gotten some help from some legends in the music industry, who have put together a charity album to raise awareness for the Initiative’s efforts, as well as offset program costs.

  • Software body slams uk.gov’s ‘special treatment’ of music biz

    The Government’s Digital Britain plan is a failure that gives favourable treatment to the music business and props up failed business models, a software trade body has said.

    The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS), which promotes the legitimate use of software, has launched a stinging attack on the Digital Britain report and on the way the music industry has approached the threat of digital piracy.

  • Former EMI Boss: Fight Against Illicit P2P is “Useless”

    No longer working for EMI, in an interview with Joakim from Norway’s Dagbladet, Johansen – unrestrained from the shackles of a forced corporate line – speaks freely, noting that while he took a salary from EMI he felt obliged to defend their stance.

    He now believes the music industry’s fight against piracy has been useless and says he disagrees with the assertion that illicit file-sharing is the same as theft. Referring to an earlier EMI anti-piracy initiative, Johansen noted, “The message of that campaign is that there is a reason why we have copyright, and I agree.”


  • Internet filtering trial exposed as a Government sham?

    Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy seems to be trying to increase the depth of the hole he’s digging with his much maligned Internet content filtering trial. The content filtering scheme and the trial are already widely unpopular but Senator Conroy is stretching the bounds of credibility by restricting the ISPs taking part to mostly bit players.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 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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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. David Gerard said,

    February 13, 2009 at 3:06 am


    For an mp3 service that puts ads on the actual songs, see we7.com. Their selection is very good. They put a 15-second ad on the start of every mp3. Mind you, I found the ads SO ANNOYING I lasted about one album.

  2. aeshna23 said,

    February 13, 2009 at 9:40 am


    I’m shocked that the Cuban would base their systems on Gentoo. Are they actually going to compile everything? If I were a small socialist government, I’d probably use Debian stable and encourage the home users to use Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 13, 2009 at 10:00 am


    Maybe it’s precompiled like Sabayon with Entropy.

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    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  29. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  30. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann


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