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Links 03/09/2009: A Lot from Red Hat Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 3:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why Linux does not look like Windows

    A lot of people agree on the fact that Microsoft copied the MacOS interface when creating Windows. Does Windows look exactly like MacOS? Absolutely not, if it did you can bet that Apple’s lawyers would quickly have sent cease and desist letters to Redmond. The same is true for Linux: if a distribution copied the Windows interface to the point that users could be confused in believing that the Linux distribution actually was Windows, that distribution would quickly be taken to court. Remember the story of Lindows? In that case it was only a name!

  • Linutop upgrades Linux micro-PC line

    Simply dubbed the Linutop 3, the new machine incorporates a VIA C7 processor running at 1GHz. It has 1GB of DDR 2 memory, expandable to 2GB, and 2GB of solid-state storage. Not enough, you think? You can add more using any of the PC’s six USB ports, and there’s a pair of Sata connectors inside.

  • Linux Gazette September 2009 (#166)

    Linux Gazette September 2009 (#166) is out. Highlights include:

    * Away Mission: VMware World, Digital ID World and Intel Developer Forum, by Howard Dyckoff

    * Linux Layer 8 Security, by Lisa Kachold
    Taking off the Blinders, or Looking for Proof after Suspicion

    * Using Linux to Teach Kids How to Program, 10 Years Later (Part I), by Anderson Silva

    * Internet Radio Router, by Dr. Volker Ziemann

    * XKCD, by Randall Munroe

    * Doomed to Obscurity, by Pete Trbovich

  • Should the Gates Foundation support Mac, Linux PCs

    Let me tell you a little story about the imbalance of computer platforms in public libraries. The year was 2005. Fairfax County Public Libraries, in Fairfax, Virginia, started offering free audiobook downloads in Windows Media Audio (WMA) file format. These audiobooks could not be heard on any Linux computer, Macintosh computer, or iPod. Not only were the audiobooks in WMA format, they were under DRM (Digital Rights Management.) So if you happened to be blind and you owned an iPod, you could not listen to these audiobooks. Then again, blind people don’t need to listen to audiobooks, right?

    I engaged in a friendly dialogue with the folks in the Fairfax County Public Libraries, who insisted that these audio files could play on Macintosh computers. These audio files most decidedly could not play on Macs. I know. I’ve spent about 20 years of my life earning a living as a Mac trainer and consultant.

  • Hunt for the perfect Operating System

    I took all of 10minutes to get this bad boy installed on the laptop and another 5 to get the resolution right and codes installed. In 1 hour this OS was merrily running with perfection. With a rich creamy blend of brown and red, Ubuntu is my perfect Operating System.

  • 64-Bit Upgrade by Way of Open Source Isn’t Bump-Free

    All of the drivers I need for my machines either come bundled with the Ubuntu install disk or sit waiting to be fetched and installed from Ubuntu’s networked software repositories. Most of these drivers are maintained within the Linux kernel project—an organizational structure that’s helped to smooth the 64-bit migration path.

    What’s more, Linux has a rather long history with the x86-64 architecture. The first x86-64 OS that I reviewed was SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, which hit the streets in the first half of 2003, some two years before Microsoft took up the platform.

  • Guru Tips For The Linux Road Warrior

    As companies fish around for cost-saving ways to work, your prospect of a working in a virtual office, could become a possibility. You may be searching for a new job, need to get out of the house to stay sane and know that a cool Linux laptop will always draw attention. Or, you might be an extreme Linux laptop user that just can’t stand the thought of going on vacation, without taking a penguin machine along.

  • Kernel Space

    • Con Kolivas Introduces New BFS Scheduler

      After two years deep into Linux, the Australian Con Kolivas has emerged with a new scheduler that above all should provide significantly better performance on dual and quad processors.

    • Comparing windows and Linux hardware management.

      What this means is that with windows being manufacturer specific every different piece of hardware needs to have a new driver installed. With Linux being chipset specific only different chipsets need to use different drivers. This is why Linux advocates state that Linux supports more hardware out of the box than what windows does. It also makes for a more stable and easy to maintain system.

  • Applications

    • Make your own Wayback Machine or Time Machine in GNU/Linux with rsnapshot

      A good backup system can help you recover from a lot of different kinds of situations: a botched upgrade (requiring re-installation), a hard drive crash, or even thumb-fingered users deleting the wrong file. In practice, though I’ve experienced all of these, it’s the last sort of problem that causes me the most pain. Sometimes you just wish you could go back a few days in time and grab that file. What you want is something like the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine”, but for your own system. Here’s how to set one up using the rsnapshot package (included in the Debian and Ubuntu distributions).

    • The Best Image Viewers For Ubuntu

      For anyone looking for features > performance, Gthumb is the sane choice.

      For those wanting to just view pictures quickly, ViewNior’s speed makes it the best choice.

      For an all-rounder Eye of Gnome has it just about right.

    • A Video Editor that Just Works

      So, thanks to Pitivi I now have a new screencast up on the site called Ubuntu Dual Boot Install.

    • CrossOver Games 8.0, Now With Zombie-Plague Protection

      It’s been a while since CodeWeavers updated CrossOver Games and today’s release of version 8.0 is a doozy. If you’re not familiar with CrossOver Games 8.0, it’s a great option for anyone who want to run their Windows-based games on an Intel OS X Mac or Linux PC. It supports hot games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 2, Grand Theft Auto2, and a whole lot more.

    • 10 Linux file managers worth checking out

      Most users take their file managers for granted. It’s there, it does its job, and that’s all they care about. But to Linux users, the file manager is as close to their hearts as their text editor. There is a reason for this: With the Linux operating system, and the various desktops, there are quite a few file managers. Each has standard as well as unique features. In fact, there are so many file managers, and so many unique features, it’s time someone listed 10 of the best choices. See if one of these file managers meets (or surpasses) your needs.

    • Web Browsers

      • Opera 10 – A first look at this fabulous web browser

        Opera 10 has been released. This release of Opera sports a number of alluring, new features, many of them not seen in any of its contenders. The enhancements to look out for in Opera 10 are as follows.

      • Google Chrome: one year on

        When Google unveiled the beta of its Chrome browser one year ago today, there were two explanations for its appearance. The official reason, as stated by Google in the official blog, was that “the web gets better with more options and innovation. Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the web even better.”

  • Distributions

    • Vixta Linux 2009.7

      Suitable For: Distro hoppers mainly. Windows users new to Linux would be better served by starting out with Linux Mint instead of Vixta.
      Summary: Vixta is an interesting curiosity that will amuse distro hoppers for a few minutes.

    • Slackware

      • Slackware 13.0

        Slackware has always been a distro that I’m not terribly fond of. I don’t like how difficult it is to set things up. This isn’t because I particularly mind editing config files, its because I want to be doing it on my terms and not because I have to.

      • Slackware 13.0

        Discounting the resolution problem, Slack 13 didn’t give me any trouble to speak of. The absence of any sort of automated software handler on the level of Apt or Yum keeps me from using it as a daily desktop, but that might not be a problem for some.

      • Interview with Eric Hameleers: Why You Should Try Slackware

        The popular distribution has just announced the availability of version 13.0, its latest release. There are many improvements in this release, including the major upgrade from KDE 3.x to 4.x, however perhaps the biggest is an official port to 64-bit. That’s right, Slackware, one of the very first Linux distributions, is one of the last to go 64-bit. What has taken so long to do so?

    • Red Hat Family

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu certified on the latest HP ProLiant G6 Servers

        More good news for users of Ubuntu Server on HP ProLiant hardware – the ‘HP ProLiant Support Pack for Ubuntu’ is now available for 9.04, with lots of management agents and drivers to make life easier for you.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 16TB mini-tower uses Linux-ready SAN protocol

      Coraid’s EtherDrive appliances run the Plan9 real-time operating system (OS), but Linux servers can access their storage-area network (SAN) data via drivers for the company’s open SAN protocol, AoE. According to a Coraid spokesperson, “Linux users enjoy native multi-pathing and all of the great tools and features available to take advantage of low-cost AoE based storage.”

    • Multimedia SoC gains Linux development stack

      The Xtensiv application development environment enables developers to “transform their products from standard simple video rendering devices to fully networked multimedia gateways,” says Vixs. Its first Xtensiv customer is said to be Hitachi, which used the software to develop its XCode 3290-based HD Flat Panel TV Recorder, says the Toronto-based fabless semiconductor company.

    • AMC board gains Linux development platform

      Embedded Planet has announced a Linux BSP and development environment, created by Timesys Corp., for its PowerPC-based EP8572A Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) networking board. The board offers dual-core Freescale MPC8572 processors, dual, AMC-compliant gigabit Ethernet ports, and ships in various Serial RapidIO and PCI Express configurations.

    • Embedded web server slims down, speeds up

      Sponsored by Embedthis Software, which also offers commercial support and licenses for Appweb, the lightweight web server is licensed under GPLv2. The embedded web server has long supported Linux, and has previously been referred to by lead developer Michael O’Brien (who also developed the GoAhead web server) as a “Mini-Apache”.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The best netbook ever?

        Lenovo offers a few S10 netbooks; the S10e is simply targeted at educational deployments. Like every other netbook on the market, it’s no speed demon. With a 3-cell battery, it won’t win any battery-life awards either. I’m pushing 3 hours under moderate usage. However, that same 3-cell battery puts the sleek little netbook at 2.6 pounds with the lightweight power adapter.

  • Audio

    • Open Source Karaoke Game Hits the Right Notes

      Performous isn’t just an app that displays song lyrics, it’s actually a teaching tool that can help you improve your singing voice. It helps correct your pitch (even in very noisy environments), displays musical notes onscreen as you warble, and awards you performance points for hitting all the right notes (octaves don’t count).

    • Simple, Fast, and Geeky Console-based Audio Players for Linux

      To those of you who are new to Linux, you may not know that you can use the shell terminal to do some fun stuff like play games, watch Star Wars, and even browse the web. You can even blast your favorite music with it, which I will be showing you how.

    • Amarok 2.2 – Reloaded, revamped, rethinked, reeverything!

      Also, thanks to the new tagging/indexing system that the amarokers developed, each song has its own unique identifier inside the tag, so if you move your music around, amarok WILL recognize it and hunt it down.

    • Audiocast

      • Podcast Season 1 Episode 16

        In this episode: Nokia announces a new Linux handset, Sony drops Linux support from its new Playstation 3 console and Google creates a 64-bit version of its Chrome browser. Listen to the results of our two weeks with text-mode challenge and we ask whether we should be more zealous when promoting Linux and open source.

      • Linux Outlaws 109 – Saturday Light Live

        Topics this week include: UK Two Strikes law, Nokia N900, Microsoft sucks at Photoshop, a KDE 4.3 review, a lot of pirate news and much more.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Software economics for Indigenous Nations

    Free software underpins not just the technological foundations of the global Internet, but also the financial success of even large public corporations. Examples of this include IBM, who claims to make over $1 billion in revenue annually through free software, and RedHat (rhat), which is a publicly traded company that develops and sells free software for enterprise uses. But while free software scales even to sustain very large businesses, it also enables individuals and much smaller and entirely autonomous entities to successfully economically participate, and often with very minimal startup costs.

  • Murphy’s Law: Open-Source Should Go Unrewarded

    Why do open-source programs win awards? Or, rather, what is it about open-source that makes us so prone to dishing out accolades–as if the very nature of a program being open-source somehow makes it indistinguishable from any other common application you can use.


    It almost sounds like common sense. When throwing awards into the open-source community like bread to a flock of ducks, don’t just give a single duck all the bread. Stop throwing up generic awards like “Best Open-Source Instant Messenger,” because that means little compared to the ways a program has succeeded in the critical areas that make open-source unique. And, seriously, let’s save the accolades for groups or companies that embrace the “open” part of the phrase instead of those that find clever workarounds to sell more paid-for versions of the programs. Maybe that can be an award in itself: Best Licensing Workaround.

  • Redis: Lightweight key/value Store That Goes the Extra Mile

    MySQL lies at the other end of the spectrum. It has a rich query language and support for all sorts of server-side processing on the data. So when you combine the two, your app has to know it’s talking to both and deal with coordinating data changes between the cache and the back-end server.


  • The EU is worried about the Oracle Sun deal

    IT LOOKS LIKE ORACLE is not going to get an easy ride from european regulators over its purchase of Sun, which the EU Competition Commission thinks could be bad for open sauce.

  • DRM

    • Is The Kindle’s Antisocial Nature Holding It Back?

      This point made me realize why I have so little interest in a Kindle. You can’t do much with the content on it. It’s delivered to you in that old “we’re the content creators, you’re the content recipient” method. You can annotate it for yourself, but it’s not social at all.

    • Kindle Hacking: It’s a “lovely little Linux box”

      I took this photo of a Kindle 2 hacked by Jesse Vincent at Foo Camp this past weekend. Apparently, aside from being a popular e-book reader, the Kindle is like Lego for Linux geeks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jason Mraz Listens To His Fans In Picking ‘I’m Yours’ As A Hit Single

      We just wrote about the rather insane process by which major record labels go through to pick which songs will be the “single” they promote off of an album. We focused on all the “protections” the labels try to build in to keep the songs from leaking while the execs make this wise decision — but there’s a separate issue as well: why is it that these execs are really the best at picking the hit single? The folks behind the “New Rockstar Philosophy” book point us to an article talking about Jason Mraz’s hit song “I’m Yours,” which you’ve almost certainly heard unless you live on a deserted island (if not, it’s on YouTube of course). It’s pretty catchy — but the key point raised by the link above is that Mraz apparently didn’t keep the song hidden and locked up until some bright execs could figure out the hit single (though, yes, he’s been on a major label for years…)

    • For One Movie, Piracy Is a Positive

      “X’s and O’s,” a 93-minute feature directed by Kedar Korde on a budget of $850,000, was self-distributed on Amazon in June. The response: Almost none.

      Then someone pirated it onto the Internet via the file-sharing service BitTorrent. The film started to get noticed in an underground way, with an estimated 150,000 people watching downloads in one week, the filmmakers estimate. It also started climbing the rankings on the Internet Movie Database.

    • Constitutionality Of The Copyright Royalty Board To Finally Get Tested In Court

      Last year, we noted that, it seemed clear that the Copyright Royalty Board was unconstitutional. This was due to a technical legal process change a few years ago (which also impacted the patent appeals board). Still, I noted that this probably wasn’t a huge deal, because even if the CRB were found to be directed by improperly chosen judges, it would likely be “corrected” quickly by having the President (or a dept head) “reappoint” those same judges.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

William Li Wan, Manager of Sun Microsystems Sun China Engineering Institute 04 (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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