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08.15.09

Links 15/08/2009: Netscape Founder Backs Browser, GIMP 2.6.7 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Steven’s handy desktop Linux guide

    With so many desktop Linux distributions, unless you’re an expert it’s hard to know what’s what. Since I’ve been using desktop Linux almost since day one, and I’ve used every major distribution out there and many of the minor ones, I think I qualify as a desktop Linux expert. So here’s my quick and dirty guide to picking out the right desktop Linux.

  • If Houses Were Like Proprietary Software

    OK, so these aren’t particularly deep thoughts, and the analogy is a bit strained. Still, it’s not that daft in this brave era of business people without conscience who see nothing wrong with exploiting us in every way possible, by collecting, mining, and trading our personal data, and micro-managing what we do with our own property that we have purchased. Look at the latest offender, Palm, with their shiny new Palm Pre WebOS, complete with spyware that phones home on the customer’s dime. How nice to see Linux used to abuse us, now that’s innovation!

  • 10 Things non-geeks should not do on Linux desktop
  • Windows Spam on Linux

    I chuckled, of course, knowing that our computer is RHEL5 using Firefox 3.0.x. But, being the 24/7 support person, I went upstairs. The odd thing was that the screen behind the dialogue box looked very Windoze-like. I went to a terminal window, and did a kill -15 on the firefox process. That killed it right away, and it was only using 5% of CPU, so it couldn’t have been too evil.

    I then did a find / -ctime 0 -print to see all of the changes/adds. Interestingly, there were some .wine files in our /tmp, which would explain the Windoze-like appearance. I am kind of curious now what the thing might have tried to do had we agreed to download their anti-spyware.

  • Summer Movies We’re Afraid to See: Walt Disney’s Air Linux

    Tim’s ragtag middle-school basketball team doesn’t have a chance at the playoffs. That is, until his friend Linux comes along! With their new secret weapon, Tim and his teammates go open source and learn the meaning of trust.

  • Kernel Space

    • InfiniBand Marches On Without Cisco

      And InfiniBand is not a niche technology. It’s fully supported by the Linux vendors, the Linux community, by Microsoft, and by many others. It’s perfect for virtualization, for cloud computing, for any kind of usage.”

  • Software

    • Taming Twitter with the Command Line

      I thought I was done with the command line for the week, but then I did something cool that I thought I’d share with you.

      [...]

      There is a lot that can be done to enhance this. URL’s in the tweets could be identified (using sed) and packaged as links, for instance. A bit of code allowing responses or retweets can be added. Eventually, with enough mucking around, one can have a full featured application (like those that may or may not be available) but made entirely from scratch.

    • Who needs screenlets when you can have Conky?!

      I have my windows set to 95% transparency in Compiz, which never applied to Conky until recently when I started using the “own_window yes” option (see a couple posts previous). Then it occurred to me that I could use it to create a nifty effect! Here’s I did to get the top text transparent whilst keeping the bottom text opaque:

      + Run two Conkys. You might not notice, but the top and bottom of this screenie are actually running two different Conkys simultaneously.

    • KOffice – A powerful office suite

      If you’re running your favorite Linux distro with a KDE desktop and occasionally use an office suite to create documents, you may want to take a look at KOffice.

    • Games

    • Web Browsers

      • First Firefox 3.7 pre-alpha appears in nightly builds

        With the first Firefox 3.6 alpha in the bag, what’s the next logical step for Mozilla to take? Why, to roll out the first pre-alpha of version 3.7, of course

      • Looking Ahead to Firefox 3.6: Speed Matters

        Apparently, one billion served isn’t enough for the Mozilla Project. The project announced the release of Firefox 3.6 alpha 1 this week, code-named “Namoroka.” This release starts the purge for native platform widgets, JavaScript speed improvements, and support for new Cascading Style Sheet 3 (CSS3) properties.

      • 5 Firefox Extensions to Keep Your Browsing (More) Private

        Firefox 3 has private browsing features built right in, but if you’re running an older version it doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy altogether.

      • Netscape Founder Backs New Browser

        Mr. Andreessen appears to want a rematch. Now a prominent Silicon Valley financier, Mr. Andreessen is backing a start-up called RockMelt, staffed with some of his close associates, that is building a new Internet browser, according to people with knowledge of his investment.

      • Is Chrome OS Too Orwellian Or Big Brother-ish?

        We’ve talked and complained about Google on many other occasions within this blog, but with many discussions of Google also comes discussions of privacy, and the fact that Google aims to distribute an operating system should be no different – that is to say, not only is Google open to almost everything we do on the Internet, but the giant will also be the only thing sitting between users and hardware with Chrome OS.

  • Distributions

    • 25 Awesome Slackware Wallpapers

      Slackware, the longest standing Linux distribution has plenty of loyal followers even up to this day. So I’m not surprised to see a lot of user-created artworks like desktop wallpapers that are dedicated to this tenacious distro. And there’s no doubt that some of the coolest distro wallpapers that are currently available are related to Slackware.

    • Arch Linux 2009.08 Benchmarks

      Arch Linux 2009.08 was released earlier this week with a new installer, more automatic configuration settings, many core package updates, and other changes to this growingly popular distribution. At the request of some readers, we have carried out some quick benchmarks to get a general understanding of where Arch Linux 2009.08 is performing in comparison to Ubuntu 9.04.

      [...]

      Ubuntu 9.04 did much better than Arch Linux 2009.08 when it came to the SQLite performance. The performance of SQLite databases seem to sway a lot between kernel releases and file-systems as our tests have shown in the past. Most of the issues were worked out with the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, but with EXT4 and the Linux 2.6.30 kernel there are some performance regressions that have come back. This issue by no means is specific to just Arch Linux.

    • Podcast 61 Pulseaudio | Gentoo PR

      Nothing fancy in this podcast just an update about what has been going on in my Linux World. I am now a member of the Gentoo PR Project as a staff member. What this means is that I am not a developer for Gentoo, just a staff member to help out with Gentoo.

    • Remembering Red Hat’s sizzling IPO – with a toast from Microsoft

      Happy 10th anniversary, Hatters. Can it really be that Red Hat went public 10 years ago on Aug. 11, 1999? How time does fly – and how big an impact the Linux crew has had on the world ever since.

      And how is this for an unintended toast – words of respect from Microsoft in an SEC filing. Now that must have been sweet reading at Red Hat’s headquarters where there is no love lost between the folks in fedoras and the Borg of software.

    • Debian Family

      • Hannah Montana Linux review

        By popular demand, I downloaded, installed, and worked with the new Hannah Montana Linux distribution, and decided to post a review of this product, as well as some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of this niche Linux distro.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Alpha 4 Screenshot Tour

        The fourth alpha release of Ubuntu 9.10 (codename “Karmic Koala”) has been released. This release includes Linux kernel 2.6.31-rc5, GRUB 2, GNOME 2.27.5, Ubuntu One, Firefox 3.5.2, Palimpsest Disk Utility, and so on. For more information, please see also Karmic Koala Alpha 4 Release Notes. The following are some screenshots of Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • HMI module targets renewable energy

      Introduced earlier this year, SSV’s first eSOM-200 module is the eSOM/2586 (pictured below), which, like the company’s DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 computer-on-module (COM), runs Debian Linux on an x86-compatible Vortex SoC from DMP Electronics. However, the eSOM/2586 runs the more powerful Vortex86DX instead of the older 300MHz Vortex86SX.

    • Convertible netbook has high-res screen

      Gigabyte says the T1028 runs Linux, in addition to Windows XP Home, but adds that customers may need to “download Linux drivers from chipset vendors’ websites or third party websites.”

    • Rugged PDA moving to Linux

      SDG Systems is porting Linux to a rugged handheld computer that currently runs Windows Mobile.

    • IPTV receiver taps Linux plug-computer design

      An Israeli Internet video search and classification vendor has announced an IPTV receiver based on Marvell’s Linux-based SheevaPlug Plug Computer reference design. WebTView’s compact, low-power WebTVPlug device connects to the company’s WebTView service to enable Internet TV on any DLNA/UPnP-enabled home device, says the company.

    • Rugged UMPC targets military applications

      TAG’s Linux-friendly TC-100 is described as offering “state-of-the-art technology, specifically hardened to resist the harshest requirements of modern tactical field applications.” The 3.8-pound UMPC features impact-absorbing rubber handgrips, sealed I/O ports, and is said to meet a bevy of environmental standards.

    • 5 Quirky Linux Concepts: Hardware and Software

      The world of open source is structured to invite unusual, often downright quirky contributions from people with unusual skills, and that inevitably leads to offbeat inventions. On the Linux front, especially because of easily executed embedded Linux concepts, both hardware and software inventions of the quirky type appear regularly.

    • Phones

      • Android-ready MID replaces stolen prototype

        When Hong Kong-based Eston Technology Limited lost its first-generation MID (mobile Internet device) prototype to theft, it created a new one that added Android support. The MID-02 reportedly includes a 624MHz Marvell PXA300 CPU, a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, WiFi, and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

      • Watch Out, iPhone: New Motorola Android Phones to Sport Beefy Specs

        Motorola’s not messing around with its debut of two Android smartphones expected to launch this fall. The phones, one codenamed Morrison and the second Sholes, pack some serious specifications, according to reports at the site Android and Me. If these specs are the real deal, Apple’s iPhone may have some serious competition.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Using Xfce for a Netbook Desktop

        So far, that’s what I’ve got. I’ve only been using it this way for a few days, but I have been very happy with it, and I haven’t run into a single situation where I found it to be lacking…

Free Software/Open Source

  • In Quest of Open Source Load- and Stress-Testing Tools

    I heard from more than 30 people on every aspect of the subject, and as you might imagine, some of the comments hit the cutting room floor. Among them, alas, was the full-length response from Alice Kaerast: “I understand enough about security to feel comfortable that my code is written securely, and the beauty of open source means that there are many people actively testing and checking code, all of whom know about detecting vulnerabilities better than any software.”

  • GIMP 2.6.7 Released

    GIMP 2.6.7 comes with lots of bug-fixes and it contains an important fix for using GIMP with the latest GEGL and babl releases.

  • FreeBSD 8.0 – What to look forward to

    Over the next few months new versions of the major operating systems will be released: Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard) sometime in September, Windows 7 on 22 October, and Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), also in October.

  • The True Spirit of Open Source

    News flash: it is these people who drive open source software. Those large, reliable open source projects with all of the sparkle and polish? They became that way because large groups of people found them useful enough that they decided to invest their time in making the project even better. But in all cases, for open source software to progress, people have to be willing to give up their time and energy for free and with no expectation of reward. Open source is driven by pure altruism.

Leftovers

  • Remember when Oracle was the good guy?

    Oracle (and IBM) opened up the market with SQL-based relational databases, thereby allowing independence between data and their associated applications. Oracle’s message was “freedom of customers from mainframe lock-in.” Starting with the VAX, Oracle gave customers freedom to negotiate between different mini-computer hardware suppliers.

    Oracle was, in other words, the open-source vendor of its day, delivering customer choice.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • 5 Signs Our Broadband Plan May Already Be In Trouble

      As the government continues to work on crafting our first national broadband plan, there’s been a lot of talk about how that process is consumer-centric, transparent, and data-driven. The FCC has spent the last few months talking about how they might actually start using real data to make policy decisions (astounding). Uncle Sam has unveiled a series of workshops to help consumers feel involved in the process (amazing). The FCC even says they’ll be using more scientists and engineers and fewer lawyers and policy wonks (incredible).

    • Venezuela mulls tough media law

      A tough new media law, under which journalists could be imprisoned for publishing “harmful” material, has been proposed in Venezuela.

    • Fusion Center Encourages Improper Investigations Of Lobbying Groups And Anti-War Activists

      A Texas fusion center’s “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” made public last night is the latest example of inappropriate police intelligence operations targeting political, religious and social activists for investigation. The North Central Texas Fusion System bulletin states that it is “imperative for law enforcement officers to report” the activities of lobbying groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protest groups in their areas.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Morrissey tells fans to boycott new box set reissues

      The former Smiths singer claimed in a statement issued to fan site True-to-you.net, which he often communicates through, that he wouldn’t receive any money from the reissues, released on November 2, and that he was not asked for approval for their release.

    • Warner Bros. takes aim at Netflix along with Redbox

      The news that Warner Bros. will attempt to limit new release rentals at fast-growing DVD rental kiosk company Redbox doesn’t exactly merit a big headline.

    • Feds Support $1.92 Million RIAA File Sharing Verdict

      The Obama administration told a federal judge Friday the $1.92 million jury verdict against a Minnesota woman for sharing 24 music tracks on Kazaa was constitutionally sound, despite defense claims it was unconstitutionally excessive.

    • Getting shallow in the attention economy

      I’ve never believed in albums as a complete “oeuvre” in the way that some artists insist they must be. Albums have long felt like a way for the music industry and artists to sneak in weak songs and get the consumer to pay for them. When was the last time you felt that every song on an album was equally great?

    • Flaming Lips offer free recordings with concert tix

      For several years now, musical artists have been experimenting with selling flash drives of concert recordings immediately after the show, but the Flaming Lips–whose latest tour starts this Saturday in Del Mar, Calif.–are taking it to the obvious next level.

      Buy a ticket, and they’ll send you a download code for six songs–three new ones from their upcoming album “Embryonic” (nice album cover!) and three B sides from old singles.

    • It Ain’t The Link, It’s What You Do With The Traffic

      So, no, getting a single site to link to you isn’t that meaningful, and won’t drive that much traffic initially (or even repeat traffic), but as you build up your reputation, and get linked multiple times in multiple places, and then build up credibility based on your content and your community then people start to come back.

    • Ben’s Reply to Bill

      I want to close by coming back to your statement that “copyright doesn’t create economic value[;]…it is only consumers’ willingness to but something that creates economic value.” If you mean to say that the fact that, say, a book, is protected by copyright doesn’t mean that people will want to buy it, I completely agree. No amount of copyright protection can make people want to purchase lousy products. But I hope we can also agree that providing copyright protection, and, just as important, providing a means for enforcing that protection, is necessary to ensure that creators and distributors of creative products get paid, and have sufficient incentives to create more. The Supreme Court’s Sony-Betamax decision, while it went against the studios, did hold that copyright must protect the “copyright holder‘s legitimate demand for effective — not merely symbolic — protection of the statutory monopoly” (emphasis mine).

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Thomas Bartol, computational neuroscientist for the Salk Institute 05 (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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