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Links 14/08/2009: Linux 2.6.31 RC6, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Linux Box’s Elizabeth Ziph Discusses the Convergence of Customers, Contributions and Code

    It’s obviously working — and working well. The Linux Box is currently at work supporting companies, educational institutions and non-profits in industries ranging from engineering to horticulture. It has survived (and grown) in what’s been a tumultuous decade for the economy — and technology. It’s not just because it works with open source software — it’s because it can bring something more to its clients, and the projects its clients use.

  • Always Look on the Bright Side of FOSS

    For some, however, the ultimate fun is simply the joy of spreading Linux love to others.

    “I have spent the last few years of my life fighting obsolete software and hardware on computer systems in schools,” Pogson said. “I am too tired to have any fun but the next installation of GNU/Linux and the smiles on a user’s face when they find there are better ways to do things with a PC.”

  • Desktop

    • If they do, it’s because they can

      Perhaps it is an unintended side effect of the Windows-esque desktop I use these days, but I noticed something the other day — a behavior that seems to have changed since the days when I was actually using Windows.

      I was having difficulty connecting two machines — my trusty Thinkpad and a relative’s Windows machine on the other side of the planet — and when it became clear that the two things were not going to behave as planned, I did something that I now take for granted: I dove in and tried adjusting things on my side of the fence.

    • What Makes You Keep On Using Linux?

      Others stay because they feel welcome to the Linux community. As some people say, who your friends are make a big difference in staying within any community or organization. Some people who aren’t really into Linux except for work might not feel that the community is an important aspect. But for others, it is. Aside from the fact the community is a rich source of information for sharing and studying, the community is also the place where one can share his/her ideas about the Linux distro he/she uses. It matters especially you’re someone who loves participating in your hobbies then this is something that will encourage you to stay within the community of Linux users.

    • Working With Linux.

      That’s the main concern most folks have when they contemplate switching over to Linux. They wonder if things are going to work the same way as in Windows. The answer is, “Yes!” If you can run Windows, you can run Linux. In fact, in many ways, Linux is even easier to run than Windows. And you won’t have to worry about Windows viruses, trojans and spyware. Linux is immune. So say goodbye to the additional cost of Anti-virus software and other programs that are constantly running in the background slowing down your computer’s (Windows) performance.

      Linux is fast, familiar, friendly, and easy to use.

  • Server

    • IBM gaining Linux customers at Sun’s expense

      Despite all the hype associated with a never-ending Linux versus Windows battle, it’s Unix, and specifically Sun Solaris that has felt the most pressure in the server operating system landscape.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.31-rc6

      Lots of small fixes all over, spread out fairly evenly (50% drivers, and roughly 10% each in arch, fs, kernel, tools/perf, “rest”). And things do seem to be calming down, because outside of some further i915 displayport patches and a couple of perf-counter patches, almost all of them are pretty dang small.

    • I Was at the First LinuxCon

      I expect LinuxCon to turn the page for industry conferences – moving away from “show-n-tell” formats of the past, and towards real technical and business collaboration. I also expect it to represent a time of amazing growth and maturity of Linux and open source software.

    • The Cost of SELinux, Audit, & Kernel Debugging

      Well, the area where SELinux / Audit and the debugging-enabled kernel really impacted the performance was with the disk and database tests (along with Apache). In the other Linux desktop benchmarks, there was a smaller margin, with some being more noticeable than the others. Disabling SELinux and Audit will certainly improve the performance of Fedora, while running a kernel with all of the debugging code enabled will cost you quite a bit in the way of performance. For developers, having this kernel debugging support is important, while for security-oriented users, having Security Enhanced Linux and system-call auditing support is important and worth the low cost, even with Intel Atom hardware.

    • Google File System II: Dawn of the Multiplying Master Nodes

      In an interview with the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), Google’s Sean Quinlan says that nearly a decade after its arrival, the original Google File System (GFS) has done things he never thought it would do.

  • Applications

    • Linux Drop Down Terminals

      Linux has a cool list of applications. Today, I will talk about the most widely used application, the terminal. The terminal is always required whenever we move out of the premises of inbuilt applications and installed softwares. These three terminals have one thing in common. They can be launched with a single click, and they fly-roll out of the top panel just like in Quake, or UT.

    • Games

      • Quake Live Updated to Support Linux and Mac Users

        During the QuakeCon 2009 press conference, id President Todd Hollenshead announced what many non-Windows computer users had been asking about for months. Quake Live, id software’s browser based shooter, would be adding support for Linux and Macintosh operating system users.

      • Game on Linux – GridWars 2

        Grid Wars 2 is a clone of the popular Xbox 360 game, Geometry Wars. It’s an awesome game that plays extremely well on the Mini 9.

  • Desktop Environments

    • How to theme Enlightenment E17

      Before we go on it would be best to point out a couple of outstanding locations to find themes. There are two sites that house plenty of E17 eye candy (there used to be three main sites until Freshmeat dumped themes – BOO HISS!). Those sites are: Get-E and E17 Stuff. The latter has far more themes, but the former’s themes are much more interesting.

    • KDE

      • Seven Great Tips To Make KDE 4.3 More Friendly

        This time I decided to reveal some of my favorite KDE tricks.

      • 2D in KDE

        Qt, and therefore KDE, deals with 3 predominant ways of rendering graphics. I don’t feel like bothering with transitions today, so find your own way from beards and dwarfs to Qt/KDE graphics. Those three ways are:

        * On the CPU with no help from the GPU using the raster engine
        * Using X11/Xrender with the X11 engine
        * Using OpenGL with the OpenGL engine

      • Message Indicator in KDE

        Recently Aurelien Gateau of the Canonical Desktop Experience team implemented the Message Indicator for KDE and Konversation. Now if you get messages when you’re away from your computer or not looking at IRC it’ll put them into the message indicator when you can happily not get distracted by them (unlike popup notifications) but can easily find them when you want to.

      • Some KDE 4 tips you should know

        KDE 4 is definitively my daily desktop environment, although it’s not yet mature like the 3.5.x branch i consider it enough stable and usable, but sometime the default settings and the few time available, don’t help us to appreciate it, so let’s resume some little tip for beginners that feel lost with everything new and don’t want waste their time.

      • Magnatune.com and Amarok: Integration of favorite and recommendation features

        On Magnatune.com, we have recently added a number of features to make the memberships more attractive. One of these features (which has actually been around for a while now) is a personal list of favorite albums for each member. On each album page, there is a small button that adds the album to the list of favorites

  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic 4.4 Adds Dial-Up Networking and Sound Support

      Patrick Verner announced the release of Parted Magic 4.4, a Linux distribution that aids users in hard drive partitioning and data rescue. This version features a special program for dial-up networking, sound support through ALSA, Unionfs compression to reduce RAM usage, SSH server initialization upon boot and, last but not least, Super Grub Disk to take care of bootloader problems.

    • Pardus 2009 firewall, NTP, and openSSH server configuration

      Pardus is a Linux, desktop-oriented distro that was just reviewed here. This post is to help you configure some very important aspects of the operating system that should have been enabled out of the box. Expert knowledge is not required to make these configuration changes, just the ability to point and click.

    • Why Should You Love PCLinuxOS 2009.2?

      What I liked the most in PCLinuxOS 2009.2?

      1.Cosmetics: This point release sports a better look-n-feel than 2009.1.
      2.Updates: It endows tons of updates over 2009.1, making it a must for anyone doing a fresh install.
      3.Stability: I don’t much of the linux internals but this release seems well tested and polished.
      4.CPU management: This release does a great job managing your CPU and power. After installation of 2009.2 when I set out to configure cpu-scaling, I was really surprised to see that pclos had already set proper cpu-scaling for my celeron chip.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Notes on transitioning from Fedora Core to Ubuntu
      • Karmic Alpha 4 released

        Welcome to Karmic Koala Alpha 4, which will in time become Ubuntu 9.10.

      • Linux Mint 7 (XFCE)

        Summary: A great choice for those using older hardware or those who simply prefer a more minimalistic desktop environment.
        Rating: 4/5

      • Fixing a Dell laptop, part 3

        It looks just like it was never broken. The display panel is undamaged. The only physical complaint I have about the machine is that they left a little smudge of some sort of goo at the top of the screen, but that wiped off easily.

        And it did not come back with Vista. My Linux installation was untouched. Yay Dell!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Murphy’s Law: Behold the Open Power of Chumby!

      Contrary to most of the open-source hardware projects I’ve mentioned on Maximum PC, the Chumby is ready for your attention the moment you pop it out of the box. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t tweak and tinker beyond its simplistic exterior. Although cracking open the soft, loveable digital toy will violate your warranty, the official Chumby site is more than happy to give you a listing of the device’s full hardware and accompanying schematics. From there, only your conscience toward ripping open friendly, plush, communication devices stands in your way of complete hardware transcendence.

    • ZaReason Launches Ubuntu Linux Netbook

      It’s official. ZaReason is launching an Ubuntu Linux netbook called the Terra A20, confirms CTO Earl Malmrose.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rubber Stamp Effect Using GIMP
  • Governments Turn to Open Source Tool for Disaster Relief Management and Planning

    “Going the open source way can address [these] concerns and using the open source development model, it is possible to develop this software at a much reduced cost compared to pure commercial development models. Thus if there was a small team which was driving such a project ensuring the quality of the product, then it is possible to get a lot of assistance from the global IT community to make those systems truly exceptional.

  • Open Source Robotics Efforts Going On All Around the World

    RoboCar. ZMP, a Tokyo-based company is working on a Linux-based automotive robotics platform that it says “provides the required tools to study various subjects such as applied robotic technology, autonomous movement, communication between vehicles or interaction between cars and humans.” The model shown at left is built at 1/10th scale, and is intended for researchers to study in preparation for experiments with car robotics.

  • Web Browsers

    • Firefox 3 about to get a major update

      Starting a little later tonight, users with the latest version of Firefox 3 will be getting an offer to update to Firefox 3.5.

    • Adding a little Chromium to my browser diet

      I used to be something of a Web browser junkie. Over the years, I tried just about every new browser that came out. Up until last year, I had five or six browsers installed on my laptop. A bit of overkill, as I came to realize. While I’ve trimmed down my browser consumption, I still check out the occasional one that piques my interest.

    • Opera 10.0 Beta 3 [Proprietary]
  • Business

    • The right and best way to make money from open source

      Fenton tells the WSJ that the real advantage of open source is the distribution model. “Rather than ‘expensive sales efforts and negotiations with the upper management to get the most money possible,’ the people that will be using the software can easily download and try the product,” notes the WSJ.

    • Boxee raises $6 million, eyes more deals

      Boxee raised its series A round, to the tune of $4 million, last November. With the new financing the company hopes to ink more deals with media companies and set-top box manufacturers, as well as hire more employees to keep building out its technology (which includes a developer platform). Currently in an alpha test phase, Boxee hopes to expand to a beta test in October.


  • I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist campaign for photographers’ rights

    The Photographer Not a Terrorist campaign is a new British organisation devoted to helping photographers whom the authorities have busted or harassed for being potential terrorists, kidnapping innocent photons with deadly light-sensors.

  • California Judge Declares Red Light Camera Program Illegal and Void

    Rather than merely dismissing the case, Schwartz found the motorists involved not guilty. The constitutional protection against double jeopardy prohibits the city from appealing the verdict. It is assumed that the court will continue throwing out every photo ticket filed until the city complies with the law. Baylis is now looking to file challenges on behalf of any motorist who has received and paid a ticket in the past.

    “As a matter of public policy, I think the public is not in favor of this use of technology,” Baylis said. “I think at some point people are going to become tired of the government intrusion in their lives.”

  • Is True Amazon Kindle Killer Not A Device, But A Format?

    But the danger is there, now that e-books are gaining popularity. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Arends even goes so far as to compare Kindle to Betamax, the Sony-developed videotape format that despite a brief spell of popularity in the ’70s faded into kitschy obscurity when VHS tape became the standard. New consumer technology always means format wars; look at what happened to HD DVD, the would-be competitor to Blu-ray.

    The challenge then, is for Amazon’s Kindle competitors to not only embrace ePub but to figure out how to convince would be e-readers that being locked into Amazon — device, format, exclusivity, the whole works — is not what they want.

  • Sony Plans to Adopt Common Format for E-Books
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • My Reply to Ben

      I have not bought any of these because they were copyrighted; indeed most of the sheet music is in the public domain but I am still happy to pay good money for a nice edition. The most respect that we can pay to copyright industries is to think only about buying such products and not copyright. The music industry forgot this.

    • Google Wants Authors to Submit Creative Commons Books

      Google is now offering a way for authors and publishers to offer content for free under the Creative Commons license on Google Books. Rightsholders who want to distribute their books can let users download, use, and share them.

    • Prevent Canada from Becoming a Copyright Police State

      Canada is planning to reform its copyright law and if the entertainment industries have their way, the rights and privacy of consumers will be thrown overboard. It’s time for all Canadian BitTorrent users to stand up against the increasing power of the anti-piracy lobby, before it’s too late.

    • Movie industry wants the right to take your house off the net without full judicial review

      The motion-picture industry has spoken out against a New Zealand proposal to allow them to disconnect entire households from the Internet if one member is accused of copyright infringement; they want to be able to disconnect your Internet connection without giving you a chance to defend yourself in front of a judge because that would be “time consuming.” Instead, they would like to be lord high executioner for your network connection, with the power to shut you out of the benefits of the network (freedom of speech, assembly and the press; access to school, health, family, work and government) without having to prove it in a real court of law.

    • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

      “Stringent intellectual property rules could hamper the spread of technology needed to fight climate change.” Paul David, professor of economics at Stanford University, California

      “If Hollywood could order intellectual property laws for Christmas, what would they look like? This is pretty close.” David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa, after looking at leaked ACTA documents.

      Behind closed doors, the U.S., EU, Japan, Canada and some other countries are negotiating ACTA. No drafts are published. ACTA will contain new rules for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and other exclusive rights. ACTA will also contain a chapter on “Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment”. Other countries will be forced to join later.

    • Snatching Rights On the Playa

      The BMO’s motives here may be more laudable than those of the paranoid doctors. But the collateral damage to our free speech is unacceptable. Using take-it-or-leave-it fine print to assert veto rights over online expression is no way to promote a “society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers.” Burning Man strives to celebrate our individuality, creativity and free spirit. Unfortunately, the fine print on the tickets doesn’t live up to that aspiration.

    • ICBC sues claim-advice website

      Now the retired teacher’s company is being sued by ICBC for what it claims is copyright infringement — a claim that she finds way off base.

      “I’m not selling auto insurance,” she told The Province Thursday.

      “They’re going after me because I get thousands of visits a month.

    • No More Passwords on SitePoint PDFs!

      Effective immediately, all PDF books purchased through our site will be free of password protection..

    • No Free Competition Allowed In Tampa Bay Taxi Business

      Back in June, we wrote about how cab drivers in Tampa Bay were trying to get the city council to outlaw new competitors in the form of free ad-supported transportation from some owners of electric vehicles.

    • Reveal Poor Web Security… Have RSA Threaten You With Trademark Infringement

      However, what’s fascinating is what happened after that. Scott received an angry email from RSA, the well-known security company, who apparently built the NFCU website, claiming trademark infringement and demanding that he take down the post. RSA was upset with the implication that the site was insecure, but rather than either fixing the problem or explaining why the site is actually safe (which they insist), they threaten Scott with a trademark claim because he has a small screenshot of the NFCU website.

    • Gucci sues credit processing cos for sales of fakes

      Gucci America sued several credit card processing companies for trademark infringement on Thursday on grounds those companies facilitated the sale of counterfeit Gucci bags on the Internet.

    • Another Court Deals Major Blow to DVD Copying

      A California appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling that had paved the way for a $10,000 DVD copying system called Kaleidescape and other products from the company with the same name.

    • Radiohead declares it’s done with recording albums

      Open source is the same. Customers subscribe to a series of improvements and services around the software, rather than buying into a big licensing event. The emphasis is on what comes after the initial adoption of the software, not a bunch of marketing and hype to get people to use the software in the first place. The software largely sells itself.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Thomas Bartol, computational neuroscientist for the Salk Institute 03 (2005)

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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