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06.26.09

Links 26/06/2009: More Free Software for Austria, Germany, and Italy

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxTag 2009: Communtu Eases Ubuntu Installation

    Communtu wants to give new installers and Windows converts an easier time with Ubuntu. They will present a webpage with a list of suggested programs to install as a metapackage, including multimedia and proprietary software, and then install it.

  • Desktop

    • Wiggly windows? That’s just the beginning!

      Compiz is a really cool application. It uses 3D graphics to create really nice desktop effects. A lot of new users to GNU/Linux like the Wiggly windows effect but that is just the beginning. You can do much more with Compiz. One great feature is to create a 3D cube which you can rotate. This allows you to look through several different desktops that are currently being used. There is a feature to zoom in and out from your screen. Another eyecandy is the water effect, it makes it look like it is raining on your desktop.

    • LiMux: Nachahmer für die Münchner Linux-(R)evolution
  • Server

    • Linux-Powered Enterprise Storage: Openfiler

      Open source software is hardly a new concept, but it has only recently begun to make significant inroads into the world of enterprise data storage, where the big name proprietary vendors have (at least until now) had the advantage.

      But as the open source community has grown and code has matured, with Linux taking root in more and more enterprises large and small, storage vendors, including big names like Sun Microsystems, have been developing open source networked storage solutions.

      One network storage software vendor, Openfiler, never needed to be convinced of the benefits of offering enterprises an open source network storage operating system.

    • HPC cluster maker sets x64 chips a-fighting

      Corder used the same power supply, hard drive, and operating system – unspecified, but almost certainly Linux – and says that the amount of memory on the machines was different because of the different memory speeds possible with each chip and the different numbers of memory channels that each chip architecture supports: the Xeons have three channels per socket that run faster than the two channels per socket of the Opterons, so Corder reckoned that to even it out the latter should get a little more memory.

  • Kernel Space

    • Main development phase of Linux 2.6.31 completed

      Just over two weeks after the release of Linux 2.6.30, Linus Torvalds has released 2.6.31-rc1, the first release candidate of Linux 2.6.31. As usual, “rc1″ completes the merge window during which the kernel hackers incorporate the majority of new features into the respective new version’s main development branch. In the eight to eleven weeks that follow, the programmers tend to integrate only smaller changes to fix bugs in the newly merged code without causing any further problems. If the kernel hackers stick to their usual pace despite the summer and holiday season in the northern hemisphere, Linux 2.6.31 will probably be released in late August or early September.

  • Applications

    • Computer Logic Design with KTechLab

      A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about a digital and analog circuit simulator called ksimus. One of my readers asked what the difference was between ksimus and ktechlab so I thought I’d take a look at ktechlab. Let me just say that both of these programs are a lot of fun to play with.

    • FriendFeed Adds File Sharing. No Movies, But MP3s Are Fine.

      The killer features of FriendFeed continue. Today, the service has just added a way to share files on the service. So now it’s just as easy to share a PDF or text file as it is to share a picture.

    • View the stars in Linux with Stellarium

      If you are learning about the stars in school, an amateur sky watcher, or a meteorologist in the making you need to know your stars. To really see the stars you can visit a real planetarium, you can break out your serious telescope, or you can install and fire up a desktop application like Stellarium.

    • Virtualization software goes multi-processor

      The Sun-sponsored VirtualBox project has released a beta 3.0 version of its free, x86-oriented virtualization software. The Linux-compatible xVM VirtualBox 3.0 adds support for guest Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) with up to 32 virtual CPUs, as well as support for version 2.0 of the OpenGL graphics acceleration standard, among other features.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat CEO Calls on Oracle to Keep Java Open

        But Java is also playing an important part of Red Hat’s business. During yesterday’s call, Whitehurst said that Red Hat’s JBoss Java middleware business is a key part of its product mix, while Red Hat CFO Charlie Peters added that during the first quarter, Red Hat had five deals that were worth $1 million or more, two of which were standalone middleware deals.

      • 16 Videos from Red Hat: Some Marketing, But Good Perspectives Too

        The Value of Red Hat in Jim’s Words. Whitehurst discusses why open source software is a good alternative to proprietary software, and more.

        Red Hat’s Technologies. From virtualization to JBoss middleware, here’s a primer.

        The Subscription Model. Many commercial open source companies have emulated Red Hat’s subscription model. Here’s the company’s explanation of it.

        Liberating Innovation. This video delves into open standards, software licensing, software patents, and more.

    • Ubuntu

      • How to Track Ubuntu Deployments Worldwide

        Here are four ways we plan to compile and examine the survey data:

        1. Plot Ubuntu Business Deployments Globally: Using Google Maps, we’ll show readers where Ubuntu Server Edition and Ubuntu Desktop Edition are taking hold — country by country, region by region.

        2. Explore Server Trends: We’ll explore the key business drivers for deploying Ubuntu Server Edition.

        3. Profile Key Ubuntu Evangelists: Who are the IT managers and business managers driving corporate Ubuntu deployments? We’ll be interviewing dozens of business and technology managers who bet their businesses on Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase

        The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is an opportunity to show off high quality free culture content in Ubuntu. At the heart of Ubuntu’s ethos is a belief in showcasing free software and free culture, and with each development cycle we open the opportunity for any Free Culture artist to put their work in front of millions of Ubuntu users around the world. Although the space restrictions are tight, and we are limited to how much content we can include, this is an excellent opportunity for artists everywhere.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Shuttle XS29f: Linux Looks Great in Green

      Power and space saving computers are in, and Shuttle has a winner with the XS29F. This little gem really skimps on the power consumption to the tune of around 20-25 watts on average. That’s less than half of that 60-watt light bulb shining down on you right now. For the Do It Yourselfer (DIYer) on a budget this box makes a lot of sense.

    • T-Mobile Phones Home, Again

      The G1 is hardly the only Android phone on the market — a number of companies have taken up Android, including G1 manufacturer HTC, which produced the “Magic” or Google Ion. According to reports, the myTouch, announced this week, is “essentially” the same phone as the Magic/Ion, and like the G1 before it, will go up against Apple’s latest iPhone, the 3G S. The T-Mobile myTouch 3G with Google is lighter than its predecessor, a reported six hours of battery life, and will come in a designer “Merlot” color as well as the less chic black and white.

    • Making Uruguays’ 300,000 XO Laptops Count

      We were in Santa Lucía to give workshops explaining how to use the EduBlog blogging platform developed by a team of Uruguayan and American programmers. The XO laptops have been great at bringing information from the wider world to Uruguayan students, thanks to projects like Wikipedia and Conozco Uruguay, both of which come pre-installed on the machines.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VirtualBox 3.0 Beta 2 arrives

    Only one week after the first beta was released, VirtualBox developer Frank Mehnert has announced the availability of the second beta of version 3.0 of the open source desktop virtualisation application for x86 hardware. In addition to numerous bug fixes for the previous release, the second beta includes several performance improvements and fixes for SMP guests. Several OpenGL and Direct3D related issues and a high CPU usage issue on certain idle Windows guests, have also been addressed.

  • USB Thumb Drives and Your Open Source App Arsenal

    Mac users can find a similar one-download solution for putting open source applications on thumb drives at MacLibre. And, for Linux users, see our previous coverage of PenDriveLinux. It gives you downloads and instructions for many portable Linux versions that you can keep with you on your thumb drive. These drives are really inexpensive for lots of capacity now, and they can save you in an on-the-go pinch.

  • Create Tour Widgets For Your Web Site With Amberjack

    If you’ve got a great Web site and want to give visitors a nudge about which parts they shouldn’t miss, have a look at Amberjack. It’s a handy open source widget that acts as a tour guide for your site.

  • Mozilla/Firefox

    • Updated Firefox 3.5 release candidate available for download

      Please note: the Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate is a public preview release intended for developer testing and community feedback. It includes many new features as well as improvements to performance, web compatibility, and speed. We recommend that you read the release notes and known issues before installing this release candidate.

    • First results of Electrolysis, multi-process Firefox

      A few weeks ago, Mozilla announced Electrolysis, a new project that aims to make Firefox a multi-process application, with separate processes for the user interface (chrome), each tab, and plugins, in order to provide higher stability as a a problem with a plugin or a certain web page wouldn’t bring down the whole session; higher performace, as today’s multi-core processors can handle multiple tasks at a time; and stronger security, as each could run on different security contexts.

    • mozillaca, a micro-blog for the Mozilla community
    • Design tools for the open web: reflections on the fixoutlook campaign

      The twittersphere is abuzz with the current twitterstorm about Microsoft’s plan to use the “Word HTML engine” in the next version of Outlook. It’s a campaign that’s an organization which represents people whose living depends on their ability to make compelling HTML pages in email, so it’s not surprising that they have a beautiful site which is getting a lot of people to retweet.

      [...]

      However, for regular folks, life is not rosy yet in the Open Web world. Authoring beautiful HTML is, even with design and graphics talent, still way, way too hard. I’m writing this using WordPress 2.8, which has probably some of the best user experience for simple HTML authoring. As Matt Mullenweg (the founder of WordPress) says, it’s still not good enough. As far as I can tell, there are currently no truly modern, easy to use, open source HTML composition tools that we could use in Thunderbird for example to give people who want to design wholly original, designed email messages. That’s a minor problem in the world of email, which is primarily about function, not form, and I think we’ll be able to go pretty far with templates, but it’s a big problem for making design on the web more approachable.

      There are some valiant efforts to clean up the old, crufty, scary composer codebase that Mozilla has relied on for years. There are simple blog-style editors like FCKEditor and its successor CKEditor. There are in-the-browser composition tools like Google Pages or Google Docs, but those are only for use by Google apps, and only work well when they limit the scope of the design space substantially (again, a rational choice).

  • Business

    • Asterisk: Always On

      Already Asterisk is being grafted onto real-time communications tools. Google search found Asterisk Radio Networks and Wisconsin Emergency Communications (WeComm) on my first keyword entry. This is GREAT stuff, and I’m sure there are many more small projects out there linking new hardware and new software together with Asterisk as the glue. Radios are great, but they’re a niche – the real target is the mobile device.

    • Reductive Labs Q&A – History & the Road-map

      As you might have seen yesterday, one of RedMonk’s clients Reductive Labs was funded yesterday to the tune of $2 million. While they work on and are core members of the popular Puppet project (which we’ve had plenty of interviews around in the podcast if you’d like some background), there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of talk about the company, Reductive Labs itself.

    • Bending the back office: Open source CRM and ERP

      Open source “alternatives” from SugarCRM, Openbravo, and Compiere have tapped the power of open source development to make customization easy, but the line between community and commercial is quickly crossed

    • Open source webERP takes on the big guns

      WebERP is released under the GPL and now averages more than 100 downloads per day from SourceForge.net and has totalled some 250,000 from SourceForge alone.

  • Government

    • Actuate Survey: Open Source Booming in China, Germany and Other Regions

      It’s no secret that certain parts of the world favor open source more than others do. Today, Actuate, which specializes in open source business intelligence applications, is out with its fourth annual open source survey results. The results are based on responses from global business and I.T. professionals from the financial services sector, public sector and the manufacturing industry. This year the survey also included Chinese respondents. Here are some of the highlights from the results.

    • 4th Actuate Annual Open Source Survey Includes China; Attracts a Record Number of Responses
    • Pillars of Open Government

      As you may have noticed, I’m writing more about open government these days, simply because there’s more to write about – and that’s great.

    • IT: Italian government to increase use of open source in schools

      The pilot projects will take place in the Scuola primaria 154 and the Enrico Fermi Institute of Technology. The pilot should encourage other schools to also increase their use of open source operating systems, office productivity tools and for email. Another goal of the pilot is to increase the use of collaboration tools, especially those developed as open source.

    • AT: Vienna to teach its public servants about open source desktop

      In an emailed statement, Marie Ringler, local Green Party councillor involved in the proposal, said: “If we want to switch to GNU/Linux and other open source applications, we should take the fears and concerns of our users seriously. Future open source users should be better informed.”

    • Eee, Look: A Useful E-petition Response
    • Open-source-tic – epetition response

      The Government supports the principle that, where new software is being developed by the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, this should wherever possible be released under open source licence and available for use by other local authorities.

      For many of the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, the focus is not on new software, but on how existing tools and techniques can be used to bring information together and present it in more useful and accessible ways. Several of the projects will utilise existing open source software to create new information sources and channels, and will share their experiences of doing so with other authorities.

      Where the pilots will result in new software tools, ownership and intellectual property rights will usually remain with the individual local authorities. However, most of the authorities concerned have already made a commitment to make these tools available as open source software, or for use by their partner organisations, and we are working to secure the commitment of the remaining.

  • Licensing

    • Video portal software MediaMosa open sourced

      MediaMosa, a video management and distribution platform, which has been developed in the Netherlands to deliver video content to the Dutch educational sector, is now open source

    • An Apology and a Question

      Imagine: a client comes to me and asks to me to build a site for them using WordPress and a paid GPL theme. The ciient also wants a set of customizations made to the theme and site functionality. Some of the custom functionality requested is different visual treatments for each post, based on the post category. This is a fairly common request for larger publishing sites, and one of the reasons we built the Carrington CMS theme framework (which automates this).

      [...]

      I obviously have a vested interest in the WordPress ecosystem remaining strong. I also want people to be able to make a commercial living in that ecosystem (my team included).

      However, I don’t think it’s reasonable to build that ecosystem on the premise that we should ignore certain freedoms of the GPL – and I feel like some folks are asking for that to happen.

  • Openness

    • Open Source Sensing Initiative Eyes How Sensors Affect Privacy and More

      No matter where you are, there are more sensors around you than you may realize. Inexpensive, but driven by processors that are maturing at a fast clip, they monitor the brake pads in your car, the sprinkler systems in the office, and can monitor motion, heat, and much more. Sensors are being deployed in security systems and airports all around the world, among many other places. Futurists believe that sensors will increasingly be embedded inside of us to monitor our physical systems and communicate information about them wirelessly to our mobile devices.

    • Who Pays for Imposing Openness?

      There are two kinds of openness: the one embraced willing, and the other that is imposed. The former comes about because, for whatever reason, people or institutions see that it is ultimately in their interests to be more open (or that by resisting transparency they only make things worse). Imposed openness requires people who get digging to find out those things that others don’t want found, and to make them known anyway.

  • Open Access

    • Open Access and the A-Bomb

      Importantly, by putting their papers into arXiv physicists ensure that they are freely available to anyone who wishes to access them – assuming they have an Internet connection – regardless of whether they or their institution has a subscription to the journal in which the paper is published. Indeed, some papers in arXiv are never published in a journal at all.

    • Book Publisher Eksmo Acquires Online Ebook Store LitRes
    • Article: It’s our data

      The 700,000 pages of scanned images put online in pdf were described by Sir Stuart Bell as a ‘great achievement’ for Parliament. And I suppose it is if you’re used to inscribing your words on animal skins.

    • Five minutes of your time to help us: take part in UK PubMed Central images survey

      The British Library project team, which manages development activities for UKPMC, and is specifically tasked with identifying additional, hard to find content to add to UKPMC, is keen to understand what types of images researchers would find useful for potential inclusion in the repository.

    • Finding a fair price for free knowledge

      TEN years ago, a piece of software called Napster taught us that scarcity is no longer a law of nature. The physics of our universe would allow everyone with access to a networked computer to enjoy, for free, every song, every film, every book, every piece of research, every computer program, every last thing that could be made out of digital ones and zeros. The question became not, will nature allow it, but will our legal and economic system ever allow it?

    • No Raw Data on Recovery.gov. Significant Failure

      Speaking for the coalition, Gary Bass, OMB Watch’s director and CAR’s co-chair, applauded the significant transparency steps OMB has taken in certain key respects. However, much data from the recipients of Recovery Act funds will not be collected or disclosed according the the new guidelines.

    • The Race to Be (Seen to Be) Open

      One of the advantages of the adversarial aspect of the UK’s two-party politics is that politicians have to compete with each other.

      This means that when an important new meme – or fad, depending on your viewpoint – enters political discourse, there is a pell-mell rush to outdo the opposition in adopting it. This can certainly produce bad outcomes – trying to prove you are more dedicated to “fighting terrorism” and other such meaningless slogans, for example. But just occasionally, it can push political parties to move very quickly in the right direction.

    • ScenicOrNot raw data now available for re-use

      It’s available under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 3 Licence, and we greatly look forward to seeing what people do with it.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Eclipses Itself Again

      Instead, Eclipse flies the flag for the very best in free software; as such, maybe its annual release should be celebrated a little more abeyond the programming community that already knows its value well.

  • Ogg

    • Is Ogg Theora the Savior of Online Video?

      I know, you’re going to tell me that the Ogg formats have been pulled from the HTML 5 specification and that they’re not the answer. Both Apple and Nokia have complained about the codecs stating that they are still patented and could create problems later (though I’m certain there are other reasons behind their public condemnation). But there are very few other possibilities as H.264 and MP4 are not free either. So it’s some murky water that we step into right now and going into all the details would require far more room than I’m allotted here on a daily basis. But I believe that OGG (Theora and Vorbis) could be the answer. Sure they are still within patent lifetimes but they are royalty-free. Yes that could be a problem later, but wouldn’t it be simpler just to get something signed and agreed on than trying to work with a codec that requires a royalty fee or starting from the ground up on a new codec?

    • The Saga of Ogg the Great

      Despite the modest name, this is important stuff. As I wrote elsewhere recently, I believe that the arrival of Firefox 3.5, with it support for Ogg’s formats, will mark a turning point in open video and audio. It’s good to have background information on how it all started.

Leftovers

  • Brainwash

    • CMD’s Wendell Potter Exposes Health Insurance PR

      Wendell Potter came to the Center for Media and Democracy in May as an admirer of our work exposing corporate front groups, lobbyists and PR manipulators. He should know, he was one of the best PR executives in the health insurance business, CIGNA’s Vice President of Corporate Communications until he had a major change of heart.

    • Kremlin Creates Panel to Improve Russia’s Image

      The Kremlin has created a high-level commission to overhaul its image on the world stage as the first anniversary of Russia’s war with Georgia approaches.

  • Censorship

    • Iran Has Built a Censorship Monster, With Help From Western Tech

      The Great Firewall of Iran, as it will undoubtedly be dubbed, involves deep packet inspection, a technique that examines both the header and the data part of internet data packets and can be used for eavesdropping, censorship and data mining.

    • China’s censorship blowback

      Aggravation is certainly mounting. After finding Google.com and GMail blocked on Wednesday night Beijing time, Jeremy Goldkorn, who runs Danwei.org wrote a letter to China’s “net nanny,” in which he pointed out: “You are making Chinese people look like children on the world stage. You are bringing shame to the People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese Communist Party.”

  • Copyrights/Trademarks

    • Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

      The public domain is the greatest resource in human history: eventually all knowledge will become part of it. Its riches serve all mankind, but it faces a new threat. Vast libraries of public domain works are being plundered by claims of “copyright”. It’s called copyfraud – and we’ll discover how large corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon have structured their businesses to assist it and profit from it.

    • Study: Twitter users buy more music than average ‘Net users

      Twitter users buy more music than the average Internet-using Joe and, when they buy it, they spend more. They also listen to more streaming music and are more engaged with music-related services online. It’s for these reasons that NPD says that Twitter users are valuable to the recording industry.

    • How the Canadian copyright lobby uses fakes, fronts, and circular references to subvert the debate on copyright

      After closely watching the way that the Canadian copyright debate has proceeded (from a new copyright bill drafted in secret and off-limits to input by Canadian artists, librarians, ISPs and scholars; to a plagiarized “independent” report that used faked-up research and US lobby-group talking-points to “prove” Canada’s copyright pariah statement), Michael Geist has created this handy chart showing how the copyright lobby in Canada uses a variety of fronts to subvert the legislative process.

    • Amanda Palmer Connects With Fans, Gives ‘Em A Reason To Buy… And Makes $19k In 10 Hours

      We keep talking about artists who are connecting with fans, and giving them a reason to buy, and it seems like every day we hear of more and more new and creative ways that artists are doing this — even as the naysayers stop by daily to insist it’s impossible for such things to scale.

    • Judge Posner Recommends Extending Copyright Law To Protect Newspapers

      But, really, the idea that some extra protectionism is needed to create news gathering operations suggests an ignorance of what’s actually happening in the marketplace. Yes, it’s messy right now, but more and more news gathering operations are showing up every day — and they’re doing things more efficiently, embracing the power of new technologies to do so, rather than relying on the old inefficient structures. This is a good thing.

    • More BitTorrent Users Go Anonymous

      Users of BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks are increasingly seeking solutions to hide their identities from the outside world. With pressure from anti-piracy outfits mounting on ISPs to police their networks and warn those who share copyrighted content, many file-sharers have decided to negate this by going anonymous.

    • If Downloading A Song Is Just Like Stealing A CD, Why Won’t The RIAA Allow Reselling MP3s?

      When you hear RIAA defenders insist that an unauthorized download is “just like stealing a CD” or something along those lines, it’s worth noting even they don’t really mean it. After all, if a digital file really was no different than a physical goods purchase, then you’d be able to do other things with it — such as resell it. And yet, as you read through Eliot Van Buskirk’s article about new online services trying to create marketplaces for people to sell their “used” MP3s, you’ll see the scenario is quite different.

    • German Publishers demand greater intellectual property laws to protect quality journalism

      The principle publishing houses aligned themselves with trade unions of the music, film and advertising industries at the “International Media Dialogue” in Hamburg earlier this month to discuss to question “No Future for Paid Content? Media Industry Under Pressure”.

    • Bloggers share a moral code

      Andy Koh, Alvin Lim and Ng Ee Soon of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore used a web survey of 1,224 international bloggers with active, text-based blogs to find out more about the authors, their ethical ideals and how they put these into practice. Of those surveyed, about half were male and 65 percent were under 30. Most were well educated, and the majority were from the US – 65 percent – with no other country accounting for more than eight percent of the participants.

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