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Links 26/07/2009: GNU/Linux in French Schools, KDE 4.3 Excitement

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is GNU/Linux slowly creeping into rural France, or is it just to cut costs?

    This year they will be upgrading, installing WiFi and starting to use the laptops properly, something they didn’t do last year. Having spoken to this particular friend, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see that this little DELL Mini 9 was running Ubuntu Linux. Now the council obviously wanted to cut costs when preparing these, so they put Ubuntu Linux on them. I explained to this friend and her brother what Ubuntu was and the benefits but they didn’t want to accept it.

  • UKUUG Summer Conference 2009

    Topics this year include OpenMoko, the collaborative web, parallelism, Drupal, GIMP, LVM, MPs’ expenses, spam fighting, and TeX. Plus there’s still the healthy social scene outside the talk sessions, where attendees can make new friends and renew old acquaintances.

  • 20 “Really Cool” Tux Icons for Sports Enthusiasts

    Before, we’ve posted here several cool and funny tux icons and some scary ones too. This time, we will showcase some of the finest tux icons that sports fans/Linux-users may love.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Sales Does Not Equal Linux Users

      When at press events like the Acer launch I was at today, I find myself asking this a lot – “will you be releasing a Linux version”. And more likely than not, I hear “nobody wants Linux, so no”.

    • Blogging, Linux & Law

      The good news for this blog is that the Linux experiment has worked. I have Windows virtualized on one machine using VirtualBox OSE for the occasional application that simply refuses to work with anything other than Windows.

    • Windows is Dead (almost). Long Live Free & Open Source Software, i.e. Ubuntu

      VirtualBox 3.02 seems to be really good though. The USB pass through and auto-filtering is just brilliant (so Ubuntu doesn’t alert when you plug in the iPod when the VM is running; it goes straight through to the Windows VM). It does seem to take quite a long time for the whole Windows/iTunes thing to settle down after I’ve plugged the iPod in but it might be just because it’s a big 120G iPod anyway… But it isn’t a major issue.

  • Server

    • News Limited phases out Solaris

      The company’s “young tech wizards” had done an analysis, Quinn said. At the start, they hadn’t been sure about Sun’s future, although since then it had been bought by Oracle, so Quinn thought the company would probably survive. In the end, however, the team believed that Linux was more what the company needed. “We didn’t want to have four,” Quinn said.

  • Kernel Space

    • Running the kernel ultralight

      About a year ago I made some notes about plucking out parts of the kernel — as well as some other ideas — with a goal of knocking down the boot time on an eight-year-old 550Mhz Celeron to about 16 seconds from Grub to X. I’ve configured a lot of kernels for a variety of machines in that time, and I have a few more subtractions to recommend.

  • Applications

    • Getting things done with Linux to-do list programs

      To-do list programs can help you stay organized and boost productivity. Ars looks at GTG, KOrganizer, and other task management tools for the Linux desktop.

      I’ve found that maintaining a proper to-do list consistently boosts my productivity. The challenge, however, is finding task management software that fits with my workflow. I’ve tried several web solutions—including Remember the Milk (RTM) and a self-hosted Tracks setup—but the problem with browser-based to-do lists is that I tend to ignore what’s not immediately visible on my desktop. Fortunately, there are several reasonably good open source to-do list tools for Linux.

      I recently started using Getting Things GNOME (GTG), an organizer for the GNOME desktop environment that provides a robust feature set and a relatively high level of usability. Although it’s still at an early stage of development and has some rough edges, it meets my needs better than any of the other to-do list programs that I’ve tested. It has supported for nested substasks, tagging, and task notes.

    • KMess 2.0 is (finally!) out

      I’m very, very happy to announce that the KMess team has released KMess version 2.0, after more than an year and an half of development!

    • Qumana: An Easy-to-Use Alternative to Desktop Blogging
    • blogging with gnome-blog
    • Viewing Autocad files in Linux.

      One of the most important programs in the toolbox of any converter of ideas to physical things is Autocad. This program has pretty well become the standard of every research and development branch in factories. Many attempts have been made, and quite a few have been successful, to have Autocad running under Linux.

  • Games

    • Games : Warsow – call for demos

      Version 0.5 of the eSports oriented FPS is soon to be released, but for that the Warsow team is looking for in game scenes for a promotion trailer, as they state in an article on their website.

    • AssaultCube: FPS Fun, Unburdened by Plot

      If the thought of free frags makes your trigger finger twitch, take a look at AssaultCube. This open-source first person shooter doesn’t offer much in the way of snazzy graphics or major frills, and there’s no storyline or plot. Just a selection of maps where you can hunt or be hunted by other players or computer-controlled bots. But the multi-platform AssaultCube can run on Windows, Linux or Macs, and its minimum system requirements are so low that just about any computer should be able to run it (Pentium III 500Mhz and nVidia GeForce 256 or equivalents, 128MB RAM). Plus, the entire game fits into a compact 40MB download.

    • Play Windows games on Linux with Crossover

      If your gaming needs are a little off the cutting-edge, Linux can be a viable alternative. And it’s an alternative that has many advantages of its own. There are no viruses, no wayward processes chugging away in the background, no spyware, lie-ware, trojans or worms, and you have complete control over your system.

  • KDE

    • KDE 4.3 Looking Good

      There’s a new Qt and Plasma theme in KDE 4.3 that looks pretty nice. Overall every release of KDE4 seems to become more stable, more polished, more eye-candy (if you want it).

    • Shared Desktop Notifications from Canonical

      Aurelien Gateau and the rest of the Canonical Desktop Experience folks have been working super hard to get the visual notifications on KDE and Gnome united as part of their Project Ayatana. This involves uniting the Galago and KDE VisualNotification DBus interfaces. Along the way freedesktop.org had to get fixed to make such cooperation possible

    • KDE’s new Plasma netbook interface shines in small places

      A new Plasma-based custom KDE desktop shell is designed to deliver a better user experience on netbooks and other devices with small screens. Ars takes a look at the prototype to see how it compares to the conventional KDE desktop environment.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat

      • Benchmark Is Optimistic About IPOs

        Now some venture-capital firms are trying to tamp down the anxiety levels over taking a company public. Earlier this week, Benchmark Capital–which has invested in hits such as eBay and Red Hat over the years–held an IPO workshop for 20 of its largest portfolio companies. The event was designed to walk startup CEOs through the IPO landscape and to debunk some of the myths about the hurdles of going public.

      • The Florida Linux Show 2009 Orlando Sponsored by Red Hat
      • Red Hat (RHT) Bullish Technical Alert – Trend Up 45.2%

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is trading 2.1% higher (up $0.48 to $23.72) today on volume of 2,464,566 shares. The stock has breached its 52-week high of $23.48.

      • Red Hat, Chevron: Money Flow Leaders (RHT, CVX)
      • Top 10 Coolest Fedora Themes

        If you are one of those open source aficionados using Fedora, you must be looking to lend a cool look to your system. What could be better than allowing a complete makeover to your Fedora. Well, there are fantabulous Fedora themes that can enhance your desktop, background, icons and more. Fedora theme are no simple delights, each of them patronize and symbolize the inherent nature of the ever improving operating system that is said to hold a greate future. For now, its your turn to make your Fedora appear fascinating and inspiring. We have assorted the top notch Fedora themes just for you.

    • Ubuntu

      • Download and install Ubuntu faster with a Minimal CD

        I recently found the need to install Ubuntu on a machine with a poor CD drive (and no USB ports) that could not read large amounts of data, but could manage to read smaller amounts of data. As such, the machine could not read the 700MB but could read smaller amounts, like 10MB.

      • Ubuntu 9.04

        So all in all I now have four installations of this OS around my house. My websever runs it (you’re using it right now) and my fileserver is running on it as well. No issues at all on these boxes, even during the upgrade to 8.10 and then onto 9.04. My laptop is now humming with some initial hiccups that were resolved as is my VMware installation. Will it kill Microsoft? Probably not. But it’s a damn good OS and, in particular applications, it’s the best OS for the job.

      • Slashdot (Power Capping) and What Ubuntu is Doing

        I think that we in the Ubuntu Server Community are leading the charge in developing an energy-efficient server class Linux distribution.

        It is my hope that by the 10.04 LTS release, the Ubuntu Server is widely recognized as the de facto Green Computing Server Platform.

    • New Releases

      • GParted 0.4.5-5
      • Clonezilla 1.2.2-26
      • Sabayon Linux CoreCD 4.2 Release

        The CoreCD is a text-based release. There is no X-Server, Gnome, or KDE provided.

        The Feature list is intentionally short:
        * Bootable Image suitable for a CD or USB thumb drive (~400M)
        * Text-Based installer
        * Basic default networking
        * Entropy and Portage ready

      • Antix Team does it again with AntiX 8.2 Final

        The antiX-team is proud to announce that an updated antiX MEPIS 8.2 Final is available at MEPIS mirrors in the testing directory and the released/antix directory.

        Anti announced “On behalf of the antiX-team I am proud to announce that antiX MEPIS 8.2 is a fast, light, flexible and complete desktop and livecd based on SimplyMEPIS and Debian Testing is now available in full and base versions. This release defaults to a fully customised icewm desktop (fluxbox is also installed) using a SimplyMEPIS 2.6.27-25 kernel and tweaked MEPIS Assistants for better compatibility in antiX.”

    • Reviews

      • Distro Hoppin`: antiX MEPIS 8.2

        I am really enjoying the time spent with antiX MEPIS 8.2. It’s speedy, it’s responsive, it has plenty of useful tools, it looks as good as an IceWM system can look (oh, I forgot to mention… I absolutely love the icons!) and it’s very flexible. Good stuff, really! :)

      • antiX M8.2 has been released and I recommend it!

        The announcement for the release of antiX M8.2 can be found here on the antiX forum site, and as usual, I recommend it.

      • GoboLinux review

        GoboLinux is a Linux distribution I heard about from a friend who said that it looked interesting for its flagship property – a simpler file structure. I decided to check it out.

        I downloaded the distribution ISO from their website, which was easy enough, and booted up VirtualBox with that ISO mounted as a drive.

      • Resuscitating Your Old Computer: Crunchbang Linux

        All in all, I liked Crunchbang very much. It really gave new life to my old Vaio.

        If you’re willing to use the command line every now and then then, with the help of a very active community you can setup your system any way you want. Crunchbang is easily the best compromise between speed, looks and difficulty I’ve found so far. I definitely recommend trying it.

      • Mandriva 2009.1 Review

        Mandriva 2009.1 is overall an excellent transition from Windows to Linux, and comes with many great features for the tech-savvy user who wants an improved, sleek desktop look and feel as well as an abundance of programs to use. Before its merger with Conectiva, Mandrake Linux was concerned with making the Linux desktop more compatible for the end user, easier to understand and operate, as well as all-around better looking. With those goals in mind, Mandriva Linux as it is known today has accomplished those goals of popularizing the Linux desktop all while creating an awesome user-interface that gives the utmost control to the computer user.


        All in all, the Mandriva 2009.1 is a great Linux environment that has the power to give both Linux-familiar and new-to-Linux users an awesome look, feel, and experience! With the 20,000 program directory that Mandriva 2009.1 contains and all the new programs that are unique to Mandriva Linux along with the quick, easy, and out-of-the-box instant setup, anyone coming to Mandriva 2009.1 should find it to be an enjoyable time!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Bell has exclusivity on Palm Pre for 6 months?

        In another document that was given to us by our friends in the East Coast reads the following about the upcoming Bell Palm Pre: “Palm Inc. has chosen Bell as the exclusive carrier to introduce the 3G Palm Pre to the Canadian market – the most important launch in Bell’s history”.

      • Palm To Apple: Bring It! webOS 1.1 Fixes iTunes Sync On Pre

        Today Palm made webOS 1.1 available for the Palm Pre. The changelog is outrageous. There’s only one new application, but most of the Pre’s systems see major updates. Oh, and Palm fixed the Pre’s ability to sync with iTunes.

      • Palm Takes Aim At Enterprise With WebOS 1.1

        Palm has released Palm webOS 1.1 to target its Pre smartphone at enterprises, according to a Palm executive

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu for Netbooks

        I did a fair amount of research this month on netbooks, and ended up choosing the Toshiba NB200 (or NB205 as it is in the US) as what I thought was the best option currently. I read quite a few reviews online, and paid attention to the reviews comparing among netbooks the real world issues that aren’t often covered by comparing specs. Each computer maker seems to have a netbook now trying to corner the market, and they’re almost all the same hardware it seems. But good notebook review sites measure practical concerns like screen brightness outdoors, contrast, heat, fan noise, keyboard feel, and actual battery life.

      • Moblin 2.0 Beta Impressions

        * Boot is insanely quick. BIOS appears to take longer to come up.
        * Alpha software, not Beta. Crashes a lot. Functionality doesn’t consistently work.
        * Reworked UI hints at amazing amount of promise. So many interesting new possibilities. So many of which are yet unrealized.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why do you like Free Software and Ubuntu?

    I consider software important. Really really important. Why?
    Most people don’t really understand just how much power software has over our current society. Let’s pretend all the software in the world was really just one single person. What could that person do?

  • Adoption of OpenFabrics Alliance Software Accelerates to 60 Percent of New High-Performance Cluster Installations

    The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA), an open-source project that develops, tests, licenses and distributes Linux and Windows driver and middleware software for high-performance, low-latency Ethernet and InfiniBand networks, today announced that more than 40 percent of the 100 top-performing HPC systems, and as many as 60 percent of all new HPC installations worldwide, utilize OpenFabrics Software as an Enterprise Distribution (OFED) for parallel computing, low-latency interconnects, and/or file-system operations.

  • From the community, with love

    Ever thrown your hands up in despair when that much-anticipated video file would not play without yet another round of codec/plug-in installations? If your answer is an emphatic ‘No,’ you probably are already on to the Video Lan way of life — free and independent, even literally so.

    The VLC player, which finally released version 1.0 this month after a decade of development, is truly a labour of love — in true Unix tradition development, versions till now were numbered under 1.0. This is the legacy of the free software (and open source) world, where developer communities — and not corporations — develop and own the software and distribute it freely. VLC is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

  • Local business and Education provider work together to bring Open Source to the classroom.

    The students at Lincoln College have been breaking the mould and testing Linux Operating Systems as part of their IT courses. Local IT support company, ForLinux Ltd, has been working with the college over the last 6 months to support and aid the learning of Lincoln College students and to open their minds to the potential of alternative operating systems. ForLinux were initially approached at the start of the year by Barry Smith, a Curriculum Tutor from Lincoln College, and asked to give a presentation to students on Open Source operating systems and the relationship has grown from there.

  • Young programmers win big [with Sugar (Free software)]

    Celine and Charlene trumped most of the older competitors handily in the contest organised by the Information Technology Standards Committee and supported by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA)

  • Twelve Open Source Projects Snag Top Prize at SourceForge’s Community Choice Awards

    Speaking of the winners, here they are:

    * Best Commercial Open Source Project: PortableApps.com (portableapps.com)
    * Best New Project: Eeebuntu (eeebuntu.org)
    * Best Project: PortableApps.com (portableapps.com)
    * Best Project for Academia: XMind (xmind.net)
    * Best Project for Gamers: ScummVM (scummvm.org)
    * Best Project for Government: OpenOffice.org (openoffice.org)
    * Best Project for Multimedia: Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net)
    * Best Project for the Enterprise: Firebird (firebirdsql.org)
    * Best Tool or Utility for Developers: Notepad++ (notepad-plus.sourceforge.net)
    * Best Tool or Utility for SysAdmins: phpMyAdmin (phpmyadmin.net)
    * Best Visual Design: PortableApps.com (portableapps.com)
    * Most Likely to Change the Way You Do Everything: PortableApps.com

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla official urges openness for the Web

      While hailing the emergence of an “Open Web,” a high-ranking Mozilla official on Friday nonetheless stressed that steps still must be taken to preserve openness in the face of potential threats.

      The official, Mark Surman, Mozilla executive director, urged participation in the “OneWeb Day” set for September 22.


      “If you want the Web to be more secure, let’s get rid of the 100 million copies of IE (Microsoft Internet Explorer) 6 that are still out there,” said Surman, whose employer is best known as the maker of the Firefox browser that rivals IE.

    • My Favorite Firefox Feature

      Say you want to look up words using Cambridge Dictionaries Online Web site. Navigate to dictionary.cambridge.org, right-click on the search box, and select Add a Keyword for this Search. Give the new bookmark a name and assign a keyword to it, for example, camb. Next time you want to perform a search, enter camb followed by the query into the Location bar, for example: camb monkey. Hit Enter, and you should see a list of found results

    • Microsoft to Bundle Firefox and Chrome with Windows?

      In its effort to detangle itself from the ongoing proceedings of the European Union antitrust case, it seems Microsoft is offering to include rival web browsers in the Windows OS. Revealed in a statement by the European Commission, Microsoft offered to give consumers a choice of browser installation through a browser ballot screen. New computer owners running Windows may get a chance to choose their browsers form a variety of software makers.

    • Google’s Chrome OS: The Web is the computer

      Finally, users don’t need to wait for Google to get a simple, secure, open-source, Web-centric operating system. The versions of Linux shipping on many netbooks already match most of this description.

      Want to turn a Linux netbook into a Chrome look-alike? Set its Firefox browser to run on startup in full-screen mode, then lock out access to every other application on the netbook.

  • Audio

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2009.07.24

      Topics for this podcast:

      * The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation
      * Microsoft contributes Linux kernel drivers under GPLv2
      * Linux and open source loom large in cloud computing

    • FLOSS Weekly 79: David Heinemeier Hansson

      Hosts: Randal Schwartz

      “DHH” talks about Ruby on Rails, 37Signals, and how he came late to coding.

    • My Manchester Talk Slides

      On Tuesday night (July 21st) I gave a talk at a meeting of the Manchester Free Software group. It was about audio production with Linux and Free Software. Basically how I produce many podcasts and other things using only Free and Open Source software. I wanted to upload the slides and share them here with everyone. I hope they’ll be interesting and somehow useful on their own, but don’t worry there was HD video taken on the night – courtesy of Tim Dobson – which I hope to be able to share with you very soon. Everything is available under a Creative Commons license, naturally.

  • Business

    • Open source and ESBs

      The Enterprise Service Bus [ESB] has been intrinsic to many SOA programs in recent years. You can say you are doing SOA and not have done an ESB. But there is a high likelihood a successful SOA program includes successful ESBs.

  • OSCON 2009

    • Open source conference likely back in Portland next year

      Organizers of a major open source technology conference said today there’s a “good chance” they’ll return the event to Portland next summer following one year in San Jose.

      The weeklong O’Reilly Open Source Convention spent six years in Portland before moving to California for the 2009 event, which wrapped up this afternoon. At the convention’s closing address, in response to a question, organizers told attendees they would probably move the event back to Portland in 2010.

    • OSCON interview snippets

      OSCON 2009 is now drawing to a close, and, before we hop on a flight back to the UK, we spent an hour or two typing up just a few snippets from some of the interviews we conducted at the conference. So, if you’d like to read what Jacob Kaplan-Moss thinks about Google, what Jim Zemlin thinks about Larry Lessig, what Michael Tiemann thinks about lobbyists, what Stormy Peters thinks about KDE, what Evan Prodromou thinks about Miguel de Icaza and what Bradley Kuhn thinks about Mono, read on…

  • Openness

    • Google is not going to have its way.

      The marketing agent, that is Google, had to share the cut with the data provider who was providing the content to the people. What if there was a way to not share the cut with the provider of the content? Yes there is a simple way – if you become the provider of the content. This is what Google tried to do next and is still in the process of trying.

      Google Groups, GMail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Maps, Orkut, Blogger, are all attempts by Google to become THE place to keep your content if you indeed want to store content publicly. The deal they offered to the public was that they would store everybody’s content for free.


  • AP Defeats Online Aggregator That Rewrote Its News

    In a settlement announced Monday, the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering operation forced All Headline News to discontinue its practice of rewriting AP stories and posting them to the AHN site with a new byline and no credit. The site, which sells news to the media, dubs itself as “The Missing Piece to Your News and Content Puzzle.”

  • Goldman Sachs Backs Down in Legal Battle With Blogger

    Mike Morgan, a Florida-based investment adviser who started the controversial blog GoldmanSachs666.com, has prevailed in a case he brought against the investment bank in April.

  • BitTorrent Behind the Scenes: BTjunkie [runs Ubuntu Linux]

    Millions of people use torrent sites every day, but little is known about the people who operate these traffic moguls. This summer TorrentFreak will feature the workstations and offices belonging to some of the leading figures in the BitTorrent community, starting with the founder of BTjunkie.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 03 (2004)

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. satipera said,

    July 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm


    As there was no Celtic Tux I downloaded the Barca one. Celtic fans will understand, if anyone knows of a Celtic tux please post a link.

  2. zatoichi said,

    July 27, 2009 at 3:29 am


    Roy, did you seriously compare yourself to Ghandi there…?


  3. eet said,

    July 27, 2009 at 8:20 am


    No wonder he didn’t allow comments on that article. Roy, a little reminder:


    And the insolence of that comparison makes me furious.

    So THAT is your famous no-censorship, free-speech policy, ey?

  4. eet said,

    July 27, 2009 at 8:35 am


    …and again, ‘unknown username ‘eet”. You are fast in deleting and censoring, that’s one thing you’ve got going for you, Roy.

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  29. IBM is Again Attacking Free/Libre Open Source Software by Pushing for Patents on Software

    A timely reminder that Big Blue is no true friend of GNU/Linux and other Free software projects, just an opportunist that uses the Linux brand and wants to make the platform a commodity (for servers that run IBM's proprietary software and use IBM-branded hardware)

  30. Windows is Dying, Based on my Conversations With Microsoft Windows Staff

    The arrival of Vista 10 heralds the continuation of a trend that Vista 8 cemented, namely an inevitable demise of Microsoft's common carrier (and formerly cash cow), Windows


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