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Links 21/05/2009: IBM’s GNU/Linux Desktops Again, FSF and Cisco Settle

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The CLIophobia of the Linux Newbie

    CLIophobia (n): An irrational fear of operating ones’ computer using the Command Line Interface. Sometimes referred to as Terminal Angst.

  • Desktop Linux: it ain’t a better Windows
  • Acer Tells Kid’s Charity – Pay Up or Shut Up

    We will not accept any donations for the 100 dollar extortion by Acer.

    If they can’t see past their company policy long enough to see an exceptable circumstance…

  • ES: Socialist Party wants open source on school laptops

    According to a report by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Leire Pajín, the party’s secretary in a speech in the city of Toledo last Friday said: “We will ensure these computers use open source.”

  • Microsoft’s Linux Rivals Try to Head Off Acrimony

    There is already some confidence that existing programs written for multiple versions of Linux will run in some fashion on Moblin, as long as they adhere to a general set of specifications called the Linux standard base. But it gets tricker when application software vendors start exploiting specific features of the operating system’s new interface, and if computer makers customize the software; their ability to do that is one of the main selling points of Linux over Windows.

  • TeamDrive Collaboration Solution expanded to Linux Desktops

    Today’s release of its Linux client completes the popular cross platform collaboration solution TeamDrive, which is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. TeamDrive enables users to work across the Internet, securely and easily. Whether you’re working as a team, mobile or between your home work station and your company: while guaranteeing your privacy, every single file and document, always up-to-date and even offline, is readily available to users by dint of TeamDrive.

  • Desktop

    • Gruppo Amadori to Roll out Linux-based Desktops with IBM Software to Cut Costs

      IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced Gruppo Amadori, a wholesale distributor of quality food products in Italy, is rolling out Linux-based desktops running IBM email, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software to select employees.

    • Windows 7′s XP Mode Could Boost Linux and The Mac

      Last month, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 will include an XP Mode, which combines the company’s desktop and presentation virtualisation technologies to serve up applications that won’t run properly on Windows 7 from a virtual XP SP3 instance.

      When I heard about XP Mode, I was immediately struck by the marketing benefits that the feature can provide for non-Windows platforms. That’s because tapping desktop-based virtualisation as a bridge for Windows software compatibility gaps is one of the keys to achieving a smooth transition from Windows to a competing platform.

  • Server

    • What Does a Linux Support Contract Buy?

      “It’s the fastest-growing server-side operating system of any of them that are out there — Unix, Windows, you name it,” Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told LinuxInsider.

      “The reason it’s growing so fast,” he continued, “is because in a down economy, companies now know that Linux will save them real money.”

    • LinMin™ Bare Metal Provisioning 5.4 adds Turbo-Imaging™ and Hosting, Cloud Data Center Enhancements

      LinMin, maker of award-winning LinMin Bare Metal Provisioning™, today unveiled Release 5.4, featuring “Turbo-Imaging,” a high-performance disk imaging subsystem for disaster recovery, new operating system media management, updated Linux® and Windows® Server provisioning, extensive logging and numerous other features requested by corporate, cloud and hosting company data center managers.

    • IBM Launches Smart Cube i and Linux Appliances in the U.S.

      The X64-Linux versions of the appliance are known as the Smart Cube for Business Applications, and it currently comes in two flavors, both being single-socket machines based on Intel processors.

    • Ubicom(R) Announces OpenWRT Compliant Router Platform

      Ubicom(R), Inc., a leading provider of networking and multimedia processor solutions, announced today the availability of a Linux-based OpenWRT compliant router platform that runs on the Ubicom IP7100 Router Gateway Evaluation board.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Catalyst 9.5 Driver For Linux Released

      If you closely follow the Phoronix Forums you already know that the Catalyst 9.5 Linux driver is available for download. In fact, it has been available since this past Friday on their web server, but it was not officially announced and linked to from their driver web-site until now. The Catalyst 9.5 driver release notes do not mention much, in fact they are basically a facsimile of the Catalyst 9.4 driver release notes.

    • The State Of The Wayland Display Server

      As Wayland clients are responsible for direct rendering to the screen, some work is required to get this graphics library working under Wayland, but it will be a big step forward considering that GNOME/GTK+ rely upon Cairo. Intel’s Eric Anholt has also been working on an OpenGL-based back-end for Cairo, which would allow Cairo to run under Wayland no matter the graphics hardware in use. This is in contrast to the approach Kristian Høgsberg and Chris Wilson have been doing of hardware-specific support in a Cairo DRM branch. Coming soon, work will be underway in getting GTK+ to work with the cairo-drm back-end.

    • Linux 2.6.30 strong ARMs into mobile device support

      If amount of development activity is any thing to go by the next Linux kernel release, version 2.6.30, will be a boon for mobile device makers with more than 50 updates for the ARM platform being included.

      The Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) architecture is running billions of mobile phones and other portable devices and has attracted Google and Canonical for their Android and Ubuntu Mobile ports the chip, respectively.


      According to Wikipedia, as of January 2008, over 10 billion ARM cores have been built, and iSuppli predicts that 5 billion a year will ship in 2011. That’s big potential for Linux on mobile devices.

  • Applications

    • 8 Great Linux Apps Worth Bragging About, part 1

      There is such a wealth of great Free and Open Source software applications it’s almost an embarrassment of riches, and we’re going to look at 8 of them in this two-part series. Yes, we keep hearing the repetitive klaxon of the tireless FUDwagon: “Linux is no good because everyone needs Adobe Flash and Reader, Photoshop, and Games”. I have news for those silly FUDsters: there is a whole galaxy of great software beyond silly old Adobe, Photoshop, and gory fragfest games.

  • Desktop Environments/Window Managers

    • Intro to AwesomeWM

      awesome is a highly configurable, next generation framework window manager for X. It is very fast, extensible and licensed under the GNU GPLv2 license.

    • KDE

      • The KDE 4.3 beta: KDE Returns to Incremental Releases

        The last sixteen months have been intense for the KDE desktop. The release of KDE 4.0 brought a user revolt that was only partly subdued by the 4.1 release, and did not completely quiet down until the 4.2 release last January with its emphasis on usability.


        For those tired of a static desktop, the KDE 4 series already has the slide show option for wallpaper. Now, in the 4.3 beta, you also have options called Virus and Mandelbrot, which slowly alter the desktop, or Weather, which changes the wallpaper with the weather report.

      • Integrate Google Gadgets with Plasma in Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty

        With the release of KDE 4.2, Google Gadgets became fully integrated into Plasma. You can add them to your desktop with a few clicks of your mouse, unless you happen to be a Kubuntu user. For reasons that are outside the scope of this article, Kubuntu developers decided to remove the Google Gadget code from Plasma. Being the stubborn hackers that we are, however, we are going to get them back. This will require a little compiling of software, but I will walk you through each step.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware64 -current made public!

      Ready or not, Slackware has now gone 64-bit with an official x86_64 port being maintained in-sync with the regular x86 -current branch. DVDs will be available for purchase from the Slackware store when Slackware 13.0 is released. Many thanks go out to the Slackware team for their help with this branch and a special thank you to Eric Hameleers who did the real heavy lifting re-compiling everything for this architecture, testing, re-testing, and staying in-sync with -current.

    • Musix

      • Musix2.0-DVD-beta1

        We have released a new version of the 100% free operating system for musicians, graphic designers, video makers, artists and all kinds of users. Musix 2.0 beta1 Live DVD can be tested on your PC without installing anything on your hard disk, then if you wish, you can install it.

      • Musix To My Ears

        Musix may include free audio tools that are missing a feature here and there but don’t underestimate the power of free software whether it’s audio, video, graphic design or any other applications. Give Musix a try and you may just find a few tools that belong in your studio.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat’s JBoss Leaps Into Business Rules

        New software platform will bring open source middleware into more direct competition with Oracle, and IBM but full parity is not quite there, yet.

      • Red Hat and JBoss Solutions Enable Banka Koper to Become Slovenia’s First Bank to Bring All Banking Services Online

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that a combination of Red Hat and JBoss solutions are providing a high-performance, flexible and efficient platform for Banka Koper’s innovative online banking solution, Banka IN. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform on HP Blade Center systems were selected to avoid vendor lock-in, reduce costs and provide the scalability to adapt to continued business growth.

      • Red Hat improves JBoss Java enterprise rules management

        Over the last year, Linux-house RedHat moved up the middleware stack, reinforcing its version of the open-source JBoss Java application server with an open-source software service bus, an open rules engine, and other enterprise-style enhancements. This week the company furthered its enterprise incursions with a new set of rules authoring and management tools, as well as a business rules repository.

    • Ubuntu

      • Managed Services Meet Linux Clouds

        So where do Canonical, Ubuntu and Landscape potentially fit into the managed services picture? Canonical pitches Landscape primarily for corporate IT managers that want to manage virtual or physical Ubuntu servers. The remote management efforts can involve in-house servers or Ubuntu systems living in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wireless Linux group chalks out ambitious plans

      Open-source wireless Linux foundation LiMo aims to grow its share of the mobile phone operating system market, dominated by Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), by adding about 10 members and launching 20 new models this year.

    • Phones

      • Delicious Dell Cupcake…(Android Cupcake, that is)

        Care for a Dell Cupcake? We knew you would. Credit to Dell for not only listening to reader suggestions, but for doing their own video hacking. At their own labs (hey, those kinda look like ours), they demonstrate the newest Android update, “Cupcake,” on a Mini 10v, being quick to announce that “they have no plans” to announce such a thing…but that it “runs really nicely.” So says Doug Anson, a technology strategist who works at the office of the CTO, who demonstrates.

      • Dell says Windows 7 price is possible barrier

        Some schools and smaller businesses may not be early adopters due to price. “Schools and government agencies may not be able to afford (the additional cost). Some of the smaller businesses may not be able to enjoy the software as soon as they’d like,” Ward said.

      • Access’s NetFront claims top mobile browser spot

        Access is also the company that bought PalmSource and the old Palm OS – subsequently renamed Garnet – in 2005. The firm is currently working on its Garnet-based Access Linux Platform, which has thus far failed to find any takers in the handset manufacturing industry. The inclusion of Access Linux Platform mini – a cut-down version of the open source platform – in a portable navigation device was however announced earlier this month.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Moblin V2 User Interface Is Very Impressive

        We first got excited for Moblin 2.0 back in January when seeing how fast this Linux distribution had booted on Atom-powered netbooks. This Fedora-derived distribution booted even faster with a newer development release that came out this past March. While Moblin 2.0 final is not yet released, there is now more to get excited over than just amazing boot times. Moblin 2.0 will introduce a Clutter-based user interface and from our initial encounters with this release, it is very impressive! In this article we have more information on this new UI along with screenshots and videos.

      • Hands-on: Intel brings rich UI to Moblin Linux platform

        Intel has unveiled the next-generation user interface of Moblin, the company’s open source Linux platform for netbooks and mobile Internet devices. We tested it on real netbook hardware so that we could give you a detailed hands-on look.

      • Spanish Solar-Powered, Bio-Degradable Netbook

        The solar powered “GYY” is just one of the range of ”ordenadores 100% libre” or 100% free computers (100% free apart from the actual price, we guess). The little machines are made of biodegradable plastic (fashioned from maize or other renewables) and run only open-source software under the GNU license.

      • Fidelity ships $250 mini Linux notebook

        Fidelity Electronics out of Vaughan Ontario announced last week that it has begun shipping its VPC computer, a one and half pound netbook featuring 7 inch LCD, 2GB of RAM, and USB, Ethernet and WiFi connectivity.

Free Software/Open Source

  • License Agreements Before Acquisition

    We (On-Disk.com) are trying a different angle for software license acceptance that *may* provide Open Source software users with more of an incentive to financially support Open Source development.

  • Officeshots.org available in closed beta

    The Netherlands in Open Connection and OpenDoc Society are happy to announce the immediate availability of the beta of Officeshots.org, a free webservice that allows users to compare the output quality of office applications. The Officeshots project entails both an open source service framework, and a free online service based on this framework. The service is now in closed beta, exclusively available to members of the international OpenDoc Society on http://www.officeshots.org. If you wish to join the beta program you can become a member or sponsor of the OpenDoc Society. Officeshots will be put to the test significantly in the first ODF Plugfest that will be held June 15/16th 2009 in The Royal Library in The Hague.

  • Review: My good ol’ friend FreeBSD (actually PC-BSD 7.1)

    For those of you who are regular visitors, you may already know that before I started playing with GNU/Linux (2001/2) I was using FreeBSD. And while I continue to use GNU/Linux, I still hold an emotional tie to BSD-based operating systems. It was not until recently that I had decided to give the latest version of PC-BSD a try. This is version 7.1: Galileo Edition. A side note: PC-BSD is a desktop oriented version of FreeBSD intended to be extremely user friendly, primarily because of their implementation of their PBI package management system along with other features.


    While I only skimmed the surface with this article as I primarily wanted to emphasize the PBI application installation system, there is still so much more to do with PC-BSD. From the Wardens to Jails, and everything else that most GNU/Linux and UNIX users may be familiar with, PC-BSD is worth a try. It is extremely user friendly. And from the point of installation with auto-updates running in the background and having the right applications installed, I can see someone coming from a Windows environment and having little problems settling in. The development teams involved have done an excellent job in packaging this OS together.

  • Health Care

  • Server

    • Why are you not running Apache? New IIS holes should make you rethink your web server

      It has been a while since I have played with Apache, I will admit that. The last time I used it, version 2.0 was the norm, and version 2.2 was just coming out of beta. Today of version 2.2.11 is the current version. What got me thinking about Apache was partially nostalgia and partially head banging and continued frustration with government use of IIS, especially given the exciting events this week.

    • Microsoft IIS hole fells university server

      Hackers have wasted no time targeting a gaping hole in Microsoft’s Internet Information Services webserver, according to administrators at Ball State University, who say servers that used the program were breached on Monday


  • Government

    • Newham and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

      First the bad. Newham demonstrates that once Microsoft products are used for a large number of functions in a large organisation, there is a natural tendency to use even more of them because of the way that Microsoft links and binds them together. As more and more Microsoft-based skill sets are acquired, the switching costs become very high – which is precisely why Microsoft adopts this tightly-integrated approach.

      This means that, realistically, there is little scope for swapping in open source solutions to replace those of Microsoft, even when the total cost of acquiring and running the software is lower. The re-training costs will always be a barrier.


      Indeed, that was perhaps the most important insight that I gained from yesterday’s meeting: that local councils find themselves in something of a Prisoner’s Dilemma when it comes to choosing whether to go with Microsoft or free software.

      Individually, it makes sense to do deals with Microsoft, since councils can use the threat of turning to open source to obtain better deals. But if they *all* turned to open source, the overall cost savings would be much greater.

    • Secret code and the damage it does to our society

      Microsoft’s Jerry Fishenden’s very recent and (I found) chilling presentation concerned their massive Public Sector IT commitment. Simply put, it was about the next generation smart surveillance programme or ‘proof of entitlement’ initiative.

    • Open Cities: Popularity lessons for municipal politicians

      Prior to the posting the motion several of my friends wondered if the subject of open data, open cities and open source were niche issues, ones that wouldn’t attract the attention or care of the media, not to mention citizens. I’m not sure that this is, as of yet, a mainstream issue, but there is clear, vocal, engaged and growing constituency – that is surprisingly broad – supporting it.

    • Video: Open source government

      Open source is answering the call at government agencies on all levels as they look for opportunities to carve out costs and improve security, transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Why? Open source is stable, trustworthy, and secure, and Red Hat solutions are being used across government agencies to create efficiencies, eliminate vendor lock-in, meet mission-critical IT demands, and improve service delivery.

  • Openness

    • Plans for a documentary about Free Knowledge

      The other day I met with two filmmakers in Spain. They are planning to make a documentary about Free Knowledge in general. They would like to show to the general public the aspects and culture within the various communities, ranging from Free Software projects to the editors of Wikipedia, from people protecting public knowledge and culture to people fighting for keeping the internet open. And place these movements in perspective to the intents of corporate interests in the privatisation of knowledge and enclosure of our culture.

    • Fighting Fund for the Big WOBber

      I got a note from him yesterday telling me a new problem has come up. Despite the fact that the local authorities – like all in Europe – have a legal duty to provide the information, they have started sending Brenno big bills for the administrative work involved, in a kind of denial-of-service attack on his campaign.

  • Programming

    • Will the Java Platform Create The World’s Largest App Store?

      For details on how Vector will work, when it’ll be available, how to submit your content or application – alongside insights into Project Vector’s technology, roadmap, features and business model, come see us at JavaOne… In the interim, you can learn more about the latest JavaFX news at sun.com/javafx, and download the latest JavaFX design tools at netbeans.org.

    • GNU tools touted for faster compiling

      CodeSourcery has updated its commercially supported GNU- and Eclipse-based software development toolkits with compiler optimizations and other enhancements. The Spring release of Sourcery G++ also offers a QEMU emulator and updated runtime library routines, as well as new IDE debugging support, says the company.


  • A Modest Proposal: Three-Strikes for Print

    Yesterday the French parliament adopted a proposal to create a “three-strikes” system that would kick people off the Internet if they are accused of copyright infringement three times.

  • Usenet Community Takes Anti-Piracy Group to Court

    A Usenet discussion community is taking notorious anti-piracy outfit BREIN to court. BREIN, which has taken action against many Usenet and BitTorrent sites including Demonoid and Mininova, has declared the activities of FTD illegal. Angered by these claims, FTD is now taking BREIN to court to force it to eat its words.

  • Copyrights

    • The RIAA Has Got to Stop

      I ask this simple question: If there’s a band out there whose CD I would buy, how am I supposed to discover this band? Tell me how! Is Rush Limbaugh going to play them?

      The current mechanism for discovery is arcane and getting worse by the day, as thousands of incredibly mediocre musicians muddy the water with MySpace pages, free downloads, and Web sites. The worst bands of the old punk-rock era sound like Mozart compared with some of the no-talents flooding the market with their wailing.

    • The 14 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits Filed by the RIAA and the MPAA

      Nine years ago the RIAA won a groundbreaking suit against Napster.com in what would become the beginning of a nearly decade-long flood of litigation.

    • Biased Pirate Bay Judge Judged by More Biased Judges

      To determine if the verdict in the Pirate Bay case was biased, the connections of Judge Tomas Norström to national and international pro-copyright lobby groups will be reviewed by another judge. However, the judge that was initially appointed has already been replaced because she was linked to the same organizations as Norström, and her replacement is not exactly unbiased either.

    • France Continues Its Campaign To Pass The Worst Internet-Related Laws Around

      Perhaps it’s a race of some sort to see which country can pass the worst laws related to the internet possible, and France feels that it’s falling behind other countries? After approving a “three strikes” law that will kick those accused (not convicted) of file sharing off the internet, someone in our comments reminded us that France is also looking to implement a file sharing tax on ISPs (Google translation) — even though there’s already such a levy on storage media.

    • Music Labels Trying To Force Pirate Bay Offline Now

      Earlier this month, we noted that the record labels were already stretching The Pirate Bay ruling to use it to go after web hosting firms who clearly were far separated from the actions of their clients.

    • A living art reborn

      Digital technology has made music easier to make and copy, with the result that recorded music is about as readily available as water, and not a whole lot more exciting.

      This seems like bad news, until you pick up a copy of Time Out. Then you realise that the live music scene is exploding, for, unable to make a living from records sales, more and more bands are playing live. That experience can’t be put onto a memory card–and people are willing to pay for it, and to pay quite a lot. Concert attendances are at an all-time high: recordings are increasingly ads for live shows, and live shows have become once again the real thing, the unduplicable…..

    • Artists Don’t Want Pirate Fans to be Disconnected

      Last week, a group of music and other entertainment industry representatives urged the UK government to consider drafting legislation that would force ISPs to disconnect alleged pirates. This proposal now faces opposition from an unexpected corner as a coalition of top artists has spoken out against it, saying that disconnecting their fans is the wrong path to take.

    • Record Labels Continue Their Attack On Spanish File Sharing Programmers

      We’ve seen a series of efforts by the big four major record labels to shut down file search engines and software in Spain, despite the fact that such systems have been ruled legal in the country in the past. In one case, they were able to get one guy to cop a guilty plea and get jail time, because he couldn’t afford to fight the charges.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 17 (2005)

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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