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Links 09/06/2009: AbiWord v2.7.3 Released, China Spying Obligatory

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • It’s COOL-ER with Linux

    It could be your choice of eight cool colors, its magical portrait/horizontal page display, its high resolution (800×600) display or its extremely long battery life (8,000 page turns–it only uses battery life when turning pages). More likely it’s that the COOL-ER reader is over $100 less expensive than the Kindle!

  • Doing the geek thing with Linux
  • Podcast 56 Gentoo Developer Joshua Jackson (tsunam)

    In this episode I interview Joshua Jackson (tsunam) longtime Gentoo Developer, currently x86 lead, a board member (Treasurer) of the Trustees overseeing the Gentoo Foundation. If you have any questions, you can reach me at david at linuxcrazy dot com, or on freenode irc, channel #linuxcrazy.

  • Desktop

    • Squeezing Lenny didn’t make a lemon.

      The new testing distribution, which is code named squeeze/sid, is quite different from stable. They have done away with kde3 and moved to kde4 so it was quite a large upgrade. In the end everything worked out. I didn’t trash my computer and it provided its web services, chat services, database and other services with no interruptions apart from the kernel reboot and the actual service restart when upgraded. I was very impressed with it all. I didn’t even lose my ssh connection once and after the reboot I could log straight back in.

    • Install it forward

      As for me, I have installed another netbook with Ubuntu yesterday and another one scheduled for installation. Let us make it motto for Ubuntu, “Install it forward!”

    • Why Windows is not yet ready for the Desktop

      I don’t spend my time telling other people which OS should or shouldn’t suit their way of working. But it seems there are people who do, and like to get blog hits for it.

      The problem with these “critiques” is always that the author is carrying around the self-serving assumption that their preferred OS embodies the only real way to organize a software ecosystem, and all others have inferior value. Moreover, since they are naturally only looking for a way to justify their existing pre-conclusion, they are often sadly misinformed about most of their “complaints”, half of which are either entirely subjective, or just flat-out wrong.

    • Damn you, Windows 7 RC, Damn You!!

      so, there I was, happly installing my dev tools when suddenly BSOD! a Blue Screen! in less than 2 hours of use! AAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! * thorws rotten apples at myself” *

      Now I’m downloading mandriva 2009.1 spring to regain my honor.

  • Kernel Space

    • Testing Out ATI Kernel Mode-Setting On Ubuntu

      Kernel mode-setting for Intel graphics hardware can already be found in the mainline Linux kernel and will be included by default in the release of Ubuntu 9.10 later this year. While Intel’s kernel mode-setting support has been maturing in a steadfast manner, this support has not been moving along quite as fast for ATI and NVIDIA hardware. It is possible we will see ATI/AMD kernel mode-setting along with the necessary memory management support enter the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and potentially see this feature appear in Ubuntu 9.10 as an end-user option, but currently this support is still deemed under development.

  • Applications

    • 6 best orthodox file managers for Linux

      In the 90s the Linux GUI was a far cry from the present-day Compiz-laced bells and-whistles graphical interfaces and there was no Konqueror and Nautilus. But you didn’t use an orthodox file manager just because it was lightweight. You used it because it worked, and with a couple of keystrokes could compress a file, generate an MD5, and copy it across the galaxy.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux CAD Software

      Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, real or virtual. It often refers to the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. However, CAD software is used in a wide variety of other fields such as electronics and woven fabrics.

    • Four Astronomy Apps to Help You Watch the Skies

      Stellarium – With its realistic 3D images of planets, stars, and the entire Milky Way it’s hard to beat this app’s “wow” factor. Eye candy aside, Stellarium is a powerful learning and teaching tool that contains catalogs of up to 210 million stars. It’s approachable enough for home use, but robust enough to be used in planetariums and domed facilities.

      Nightfall – This app is for the closet astrophysicist. It creates “animated views of eclipsing binary stars, calculates synthetic light curves and radial velocity curves, and eventually determines the best-fit model for a given set of observational data of an eclipsing binary star system.” In other words, it’s great for things like measuring the mass of stars. If you just want to find Orion’s Belt in the night sky, try one of the other apps.

    • AbiWord v2.7.3 Released

      The AbiWord team joyfully announces AbiWord v2.7.3, the 4th snapshot of the development series that will lead to AbiWord 2.8.

      This snapshot allows interested developers, testers and users a sneak preview into the future of AbiWord.

    • On the menu

      I have mentioned a couple times that I have been running without X for quite a while, on my main system. Here’s what’s running on it; some of this appears on the Software page, but some isn’t really listed there.

    • Open Source Network Diagramming..

      At this point when you run kivio, you’ll have all the added stencil packs as well as access to all the DIA stencils. This leaves you with somewhere around 80% of all the functionality that you would have in Visio.

    • Test-driving Chrome for Ubuntu

      Overall, I’m impressed with Chrome so far. Its tiny resource footprint is likely to score big points with Linux geeks who like their machines to run as efficiently as possible, and with users seeking a more responsive browser than the mainstream offerings. The current lack of integration into Gnome and the inability to change search engines (not to mention most other preferences) is discouraging, but we should spare final judgement on these issues until Chrome’s Linux port becomes stable.

    • Five Essential Apps for the Ubuntu User

      Ubuntu really shows the flexibility and potential of the Linux desktop. And the various applications – like the five discussed in this TechTip – add to that flexibility.

      Are you an Ubuntu user? If so, what are some of your favorite applications? Leave a comment and share your favorites.

  • KDE

    • Editing Videos With Kdenlive

      This is only a brief introduction to a powerful video editing tool. While it is still under heavy development and far from perfect, it looks like a very promising video editing application. The Kdenlive site has documentation, video tutorials and an active forum if you want to learn more. I have found that nothing beats hands-on experience. Make a few test videos and learn all of the features, and after you have mastered them, you can begin creating your future award-winning productions.

    • 10 KDE 4 desktop widgets to make you more productive

      If you’ve taken a look at KDE 4, you will have noticed significant changes to the desktop. Many people feel these changes have made the KDE desktop less usable. By default, I would say that is certainly the case. But with KDE 4 comes one addition to the desktop that helps it out significantly: widgets — tiny applications that reside on the desktop and serve one or more functions. Most new KDE 4 users have yet to experience what these widgets have to offer. But if you’re not taking advantage of these added tools, you’re not getting the full KDE 4 experience.

      Quite a few widgets are available for the KDE 4 desktop. Some serve little to no function. Others, however, can make your day-to-day computing life much easier. Here are 10 widgets that will make you more productive.

  • Distributions

    • Macpup – Puppy on steroids

      Puppy Linux is a 100MB Jack of all trades Linux distribution, mainly used as a light, fast live CD distro. It’s one of the more popular small distributions. I’ve reviewed Puppy twice already, loving it better each time.

    • Slackware

      • Wolvix Linux 2.0 Beta 2 Review

        Wolvix is based on Slackware and, according to the Wolvix site, is geared toward the home user. Wolvix uses the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and provides a somewhat greater range of apps than some of the other distributions.

      • First look at Absolute Linux 12.2.5

        My original conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with Absolute Linux but that it really wasn’t a particularly compelling distro. There just isn’t anything that makes it stand out from the crowd. Add a raft full of broken applications and configuration tools and a repository problem and there is now a compelling reason to give this release a pass. If the concepts Paul Sherman detailed in his interview sound appealing to you, my advice would be either to try 12.2.4 or wait for 12.2.6 and hope that it’s significantly better.

    • Red Hat

      • Fedora teams’ call to action.

        So in the vein of this post, I want to issue a challenge to each of our teams, to do two things during the next 10 days that will help make Fedora 12 the best release yet, and help make the Fedora community an even better place to contribute to free software:

      • Fedora 11 and Ext4: The Straight Bits

        Let’s face it–We’re addicted! To files that is. More importantly, we are addicted to the massively large and ever increasing storage devices upon which we store those files. Make no mistake though, like any addiction, storing content comes at a cost and usually those costs are paid at the filesystem level. We all want more space and we all want better performance when it comes to disk I/O and a junkie’s wishlist never ends.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Palm’s Linux smartphone debuts

      As promised, Palm’s Linux-based smartphone went on sale Saturday, available exclusively for Sprint networks, says eWEEK. Early reviews have been favorable, although analysts worry about the lack of software and the ability of Sprint to effectively market the Palm Pre (pictured), says the story.

    • Dell’s new inexpensive Linux notebook

      The Dell Inspiron 15n comes with Ubuntu 8.10 pre-installed. Lots of computers do that these days. What’s different is that the 15n is a full-sized notebook with a netbook price-tag of $299.

      The latest Dell Linux notebook comes with a 15.6″ display with a maximum resolution of 1,355×768. It is backed up by an Intel GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) X4500MD chip set.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Class on Open Source Courseware

    The most widely-known free courseware system is Moodle, which has the highest market share of any CMS (open or closed) after Blackboard. Moodle was created at Curtin University in Australia, and is developed by a tight-knit team still led by the original creator.

    Moodle is designed around a “social constructionist pedagogy” education philosophy, emphasizing interaction between students and between teacher and student. Consequently, although it can easily handle traditional classroom tasks like assignments and quizzes, it also incorporates a wide range of built-in communication-oriented tools, such as wikis and discussion forums. Moodle is implemented in PHP and can use any SQL database as a backend; although it was originally (and continues to be) developed on Linux, and operating system that supports PHP and a database server can be used to host a Moodle Web site.

  • Government

    • Government considers US-style open source data website

      The UK government is considering launching an open source data website, similar to the data.gov site launched by the US government in May.

    • FOSS can work in the Free Market

      That is why non technical users should be involved with FOSS funding, they can’t direct development through their own skills, but they should be able to direct development (even if just slightly) through their purchase of developer time.

  • Licensing (Projects Set Free)

    • Engine Room Audition…

      The code is generally not half bad, though after a year where I’ve really concentrated on enhancing my coding skills (reading Andrei Alexandrescu, learning template meta-programming and such like, delving deeper into boost), it’s not the way I’d do it now. It was written in six weeks, on a brutal deadline, so signs of rushing are sometimes apparent (though most of the effects themselves were developed over the previous couple of years). Also, this stuff is way overdue to be ported to the GPU.

    • Google Open Sources Page Speed Performance

      To make sure Web pages load quickly and perform as expected, Google uses a Firefox add-on called Page Speed. It’s integrated with Web development toolkit Firebug and provides immediate feedback on ways to improve sites that are sluggish to load. Google has announced a decision to open source Page Speed and share it with the Web-building community.


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Friends of the Presidency on Criminal Law Aspects of ACTA

      Negotiations are currently under way on a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) containing measures to combat piracy and counterfeiting. This working party will discuss any criminal law aspects of the agreement that may arise.

    • China demands new PCs carry spyware

      There comes a time when despite the allure of the market, Western industry should band together and turn its back on China. A time when the computer and Internet industry realizes that the censorship-and-repression tax the government is intent on levying is too high a price to pay.

    • China wants parental control of all PCs
    • China’s Censorware: What about GNU/Linux?

      News is breaking that the Chinese government will insist on censorware being shipped with all PCs:

      China plans to require that all personal computers sold in the country as of July 1 be shipped with software that blocks access to certain Web sites, a move that could give government censors unprecedented control over how Chinese users access the Internet.


      This turns out – surprise, surprise, to be a Windows executable, which raises a question: what will the Chinese government do about GNU/Linux? Will they simply ignore that platform, or insist that a GNU/Linux version be developed?

    • In the name of national security

      Under a new proposed Bill, the government is arming itself with the power to block websites without the right to be heard. Why is no one talking about it?

    • Copyrights

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