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09.16.09

Links 16/09/2009: KOffice 2.1 Beta 2 is Released, LinuxCon 2009 Highlights

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • De-Programming Windows Refugees

    Our mission, for those who choose to accept it, is to understand that de-programming these proprietary refugees is Job One. It is not a job for the impatient or faint of heart because there are so many layers to penetrate, especially for Windows users who think PCs are Windows computers, that malware, instability, DRM, insane EULAs, and overpriced under-featured crud are facts of life. That we have no right to control our own property or data, and it is perfectly OK to commit all manner of invasions into our personal lives. Somehow we must communicate that some actual study and learning are required for all platforms and devices, and that whining and wailing in despair don’t accomplish much.

  • CableCard and Linux

    Mythbuntu, an Ubuntu-based MythTV distro, made an April Fools’ Day Joke this year about Microsoft opening up CableCard development and that CableCards would soon be supported under Linux. Sadly, the next day was a heartfelt tragedy after the truth was realized.

    Maybe someday I’ll be able to watch digital cable from my desktop.

  • Server

    • Virtualization tips total-cost scales for Linux

      Virtualization may offer a significant advantage to Linux in the decade-old debate over Linux vs. Windows total cost of ownership (TCO). A new Gabriel Consulting Group survey (PDF) of mostly mixed-environment (that is, Windows and Linux) enterprises reveals significantly higher adoption of virtualization technology, with all the cost savings that go with it: less money spent on hardware and licensing fees.

    • Linux and Virtualization Will March Forward Together

      It’s also worth noting that if you don’t think of IBM as a company focused on Linux, think again. Sutor specifically mentions mainframes in his quote, which IBM has never given up on in the age of the PC, and the company’s Linux and virtualization strategies are very tied to that high-margin portion of its business. IBM is also one of the biggest contributors to the Linux kernel, as seen in the chart in this post.

    • Cisco Pursues Small Business With Linux Routers

      At the heart of many Cisco enterprise routers is the IOS operating system that it developer. When it comes to small business, however, Cisco isn’t pushing IOS — instead, it’s new small business router is powered by Linux.

      Cisco today announced a new set of small business networking products including the SA 500-series security appliances, designed to provide unified threat management (UTM) capabilities. The SA 500-series routers provide the usual UTM combination of features including firewall, VPN, antispam, URL filtering and antivirus capabilities.

  • Kernel Space

    • Live video stream of LinuxCon 2009 highlights

      The highlights of LinuxCon 2009, a conference organised by the Linux Foundation, will be available as a live video stream using the open CODECs Ogg / Theora, viewed via a Web browser Java applet. Alternatively, they may be viewed via an embedded player such as RealPlayer, MPlayer or the Windows Media Player. The keynote presentations will be provided free of charge, while a fee of €84 will be charged for the rest of the conference program and the use of the video archive. The service is an initiative of Linux New Media AG.

    • Watch LinuxCon Live From Your Computer Next Week

      LinuxCon is only a week away, and the brand new conference looks like it will be one of the best open source events of the year. The conference kicks off Monday, September 21st in Portland, Oregon, and there is a roster of excellent speakers, ranging from Linus Torvalds to Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth to Bob Sutor from IBM. Not everybody can make it to Portland, though, which is why it’s great news that there will be opportunities to view all events via live and archived video streams. Some sessions are free, while others aren’t. Here are the details.

    • Who’s developing Linux?

      From time to time, Nick Carr of Red Hat, and I have a conversation about the state of things. During this discussion, he mentioned a very interesting Linux Foundation paper titled Linux Kernel Development How Fast it is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It: An August 2009 Update.

    • I Feel the Need for Speed: Linux File System Throughput Performance, Part 1

      In two previous articles (here and here) we explored the metadata performance of a number of Linux file systems using a single micro-benchmark: fdtree.

      fdtree as a micro-benchmark is very attractive because it is a simple bash script that uses recursion, forcing all cores to be used (extremely important with modern processors). It tests the ability of the file system to simply create directories and files in a tree-structure. The file systems tested typically used their default options (except for ext3 and ext4) so tuning the file systems for this specific benchmark was not tested.

  • Applications

    • Surfing The Forge: Sound & MIDI Projects On SourceForge

      When I began collecting links for the Linux Sound & Music Applications pages I frequented a variety of announcement and news services. Some of those services are no longer with us, some have been superceded by more comprehensive and modern channels, and a few have remained as primary sources for new and updated Linux audio software. SourceForge is one of those long-lived services that have remained relevant to my searches for new and interesting sound and music applications, so I decided to surf the Forge to find recent and maybe some not-so-recent developments in the world of Linux audio.

    • 15 “Really” Awesome Conky Configurations

      After showing you how to install and configure conky, and then gave you the idea that you can display Twitter statuses on it, it’s time for me to share to you some of the most highly-customized, unique, and awe-inspiring conky configurations. Take note that you can easily download and install the included conky scripts, but be sure to follow the setup instructions.

    • Game Review: Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection

      While I’m usually happy blasting away demons in a FPS or pushing a necromancer with skeleton escorts to conquer yet another level-grinding dungeon, sometimes I just want to get back to the basics.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Foundation releases first quarterly report

      The GNOME Foundation, which coordinates development of the GNOME platform, has announced the release of its first quarterly reportPDF. The Q2 2009 Quarterly report spans June, July and August and covers several topics, including the projects migration to the Git version control systems (VCS).

    • Linus is always right

      The code is GPL3, so feel free to use and abuse. The dataset code is self containing and soon will have no dependency on Qt, so it may be-reused in other projects.

    • KOffice 2.1 beta 2 released

      The KOffice team is happy to announce the second Beta of the upcoming 2.1 release that implement the KOffice 2 vision. The KOffice community has now switched from adding new features to fixing the remaining bugs. As can be seen in the full changelog the bugfixing is very active in all parts of the suite.

    • KOffice 2.1 Beta 2 Released
  • Distributions

    • Of Making Many Distros (or Remixes) There Is No End

      If you are thinking about getting Linux on your computer, here’s some advice: Look for a distro that has a strong online community and either a long history or a company backing it. The following are some good distros to check out:

      Ubuntu

      Debian

      Fedora

      Mandriva

      openSUSE

      It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Ubuntu (it comes in five flavors!). If you really are new to Linux, I don’t think you will find an easier distro to learn or a better community to support it, though someone will likely disagree with me on this point in favor of their favorite distro. That’s fine. Just try out the live CD of whichever distro you are considering and reach your own conclusions.

    • Ubuntu Family

      • Some tricks to keep your old PC purring like a ’57 Chevy

        If you feel stuck by that, there is an elegant way to change operating systems that should work on your old computer. Go to www.ubuntu.com and take a look at Ubuntu. Unlike Windows, it’s free and isn’t as demanding of resources. So it can add new life to an old computer.

      • Gloobus Brings QuickLook And CoverFlow To Ubuntu

        Gloobus is an extension designed for Gnome (the desktop system for Ubuntu) and allows you to preview a wide array of files as you browse through them by simply hitting the SPACE bar on your keyboard. The previews are designed to generate quickly, and do so without launching the program you would typically use to view them. This can be a great time-saver if you’re searching through a list of documents trying to find the right one, especially if your computer takes some time to launch programs.

      • Running Alpha Karmic on The Thinkpad X301

        I’ve argued for a while now that one of Canonical’s primary contributions to the Linux distribution world is in the polish, the look and feel of the desktop. Karmic continues this tradition, with an attractive, aesthetically pleasing UI. While some of the decisions – the introduction of the Growl-like notification system, for example – have been controversial in some quarters, I find them to be welcome additions to a rapidly improving user experience.

      • 10 great looking Ubuntu wallpapers – Month 1
      • Dell Latitude with ubuntu

        Have you ever have an aged laptop, with pentium III inside and 256 MB of Memory, and you feel that it more worth to be a paper weight than a laptop, don’t worry , Turn your sluggish windows based laptop into , Ubuntu based laptop with so much fun and not much lagging ( of course it is lagging, it is pentium III!!!) but not that annoying compared to windows !!!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Installer Screenshots

        Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala now includes an installer slideshow. I’ve always liked the idea of rotating slides of information about the OS while it’s installing to give the users something to do. No matter what you put on the slides this is going to be more entertaining for users than staring at the progress bar. While installing Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5 you may have noticed a similar feature has been added to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. After entering information into the installer and clicking the Install button, users will see a slideshow of highlights, tips, and featured applications one after another. The one thing that sets that Ubuntu installer slideshow apart from others I’ve seen is it only plays through once. I found this to be a nice touch and I also anticipate many more slides by the final release.

      • Announcing Lifesaver

        Chris Jones, creator of Terminator has been working on a small little tool that you might like. It’s called Lifesaver. It’s a small screensaver that searches for “ubuntu” on twitter and identi.ca and then presents it on your screen all slick-like.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Archos 5: The Linux Internet tablet for everyone

      If you want to buy one, they’ll be available tomorrow, September 16th, from Amazon and the Archos Web site. There is one major caveat: this second-generation Archos 5 has the same name as its predecessor and, just to look at it, you could mistake it for its immediate ancestor. If you want to buy one, make darn sure you’re getting the new model. Prices range from $249.99 for the 8GB device to $439.99 for the 500GB top-end model.

    • Android tablet plays 720p video

      Archos is shipping the Android version of its media-oriented Archos 5 Internet Tablet. The Archos 5 runs on a Texas Instruments OMAP3x SoC and comes in flash (8GB to 32GB) or hard drive versions (160GB to 500GB), with a 4.8-inch, 800×480 touchscreen, 720p video, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth, says Archos.

    • Embedded security software rev’d

      DSF 5.1 is available for 30 operating systems and more than 70 CPUs, and is “platform independent, endian-neutral, and can be used without an OS or RTOS,” says Mocana. Platforms are said to include Linux, MontaVista Linux, VxWorks, OSE, Nucleus, Solaris, ThreadX, Windows, MacOS X, (ARC) MQX, pSOS, and Cygwin. All versions are said to be available as government-certified FIPS 140-2 level 1 validated binaries, or in source. A developer API is also said to be available.

    • Linux stacks target industrial, medical sectors

      Wind River launched a partner validation program to offer pre-validated middleware stacks integrated with Wind River Linux and VxWorks for the industrial and medical markets . The initial partners for the Wind River Partner Validation Program are Acontis Technologies, Esterel Technologies, KW-Software, and Softing AG, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Ruby apps development readied for Android

        Builders of the JRuby version of the Ruby programming language are working to enable development of Ruby-based business applications for the Android handheld platform, a leader of the JRuby project said on Monday afternoon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • MySpace to open source in-house data analysis technology

    MySpace on Tuesday will release as open source a technology called Qizmt that it developed in-house to mine and crunch massive amounts of data and generate friend recommendations in its social-networking site.

  • New Version 3.0 of Google Chrome is Much Speedier

    As you experiment with the new Chrome, you can provide Google feedback on it here. Chrome is now officially one year old, and it’s good to see it advancing and getting speedier. The benchmark charts below, from Google, show version 3.0′s speed improvements in Javascript tests, which look substantial (bigger is better in the first chart and smaller is better in the second one).

  • Google Chrome 3.0 Sees Stable Release

    Google’s Chrome team releases a stable build of the Web browser that incorporates the speed bumps and features introduced in August’s Chrome 3.0.195.4 beta release. Chrome has been through 51 developer, 21 beta and 15 stable updates and 3,505 bug fixes in the past year. Greater expectations await Chrome now that Sony is bundling the browser alongside Internet Explorer on Vaio laptops.

  • FSF/GNU

  • Government

    • Open source software can save India $2 bn

      As Indian consumers and enterprises evaluate the option of upgrading to Microsoft’s much-touted operating system (OS) Windows 7, to be officially launched on October 22, the free and open source software (FOSS) community has fired yet another salvo at proprietary software.

      In the year 2010, if FOSS is adopted at 50 per cent levels across the economy, India can save around $2 billion (around Rs 9,800 crore), suggests a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. Even a very conservative estimate, notes the study, pegs the cost savings for use of FOSS on servers as an operating system or as an application at Rs 138 crore in 2010.

    • Could India Save Billions With FOSS? Whose Numbers Are Accurate?

      I suspect that such truly independent numbers would show that there are truths to weigh behind both Red Hat’s and Microsoft’s positions. Support and training are cost centers in big software deployments, but companies like Red Hat specialize in minimizing the costs for them. As is always true with statistics, it can get very hard to discern whether the ones we see are lies, damned lies, or truths.

Leftovers

  • Antitrust Concerns Swirl Around Sale of Diebold Voting Machines

    Sen. Charles Schumer asked the Justice Department’s antitrust division on Monday to investigate the recent sale of Diebold’s voting machines division to a competitor, saying the deal raises anti-competitiveness concerns and has “adverse implications on how our country votes.”

  • AstroTurf

    • Federal Judge Issues Blistering Decision on Failure of SEC to Police Banksters: Oscar Wilde Weighs In

      As reported previously, the court was weighing the appropriateness of a $33 million fine the SEC levied against BofA for failing to notify shareholders about a massive bonus package paid to Merrill Lynch executives when BofA acquired Merrill in September of 2008.

    • Wendell Potter: How Corporate PR Works to Kill Health Care Reform

      It is easy to think of efforts to influence lawmakers as the exclusive domain of K Street lobbyists. Much has been said and written about the millions of dollars the special interests are spending on lobbying activities and the hundreds of lobbyists who are at work as we speak trying to shape health care reform legislation. Very little by comparison has been written about the millions of dollars that special interests are spending on PR activities to accomplish the same goal and that are vital to successful lobbying efforts.

    • Size Matters, Reality Doesn’t

      After some conservative bloggers wrote that they believe allies’ guesstimates over official reports, CJR asked whether “the point of the whole exercise on Saturday was not, apparently, to gather a crowd in the numeric sense” but “to gather a crowd in the symbolic sense.”

    • P.S. to the Tea Party Express

      Blogger Lindsay Beyerstein reports that BusBank, “one of the featured corporate sponsors of the Tea Party Express had to pay millions of dollars to settle lawsuits for its role in a bus fire that killed 23 elderly nursing home residents fleeing Hurricane Rita in 2005.”

    • Revolving door for health care aides

      Some of the most influential aides in the closed-door Senate Finance Committee negotiations over health care reform have ties to interests that would be directly affected by the legislation.

    • Wendell Potter: Public Option Essential, Baucus Plan An “Absolute Gift” To Health Insurance Industry (VIDEO)

      ‘Contrary to the misinformation being disseminated by the health insurance industry and its allies, the public insurance option would not have a competitive advantage over private plans,” Potter told the committee. “It would have to meet the same benefit requirements and comply with the same insurance market reforms as private plans. ”

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • License to Kill Innovation: the Broadcast Flag for UK Digital TV?

      In the United States, rightsholders claimed that without DRM, digital TV would herald an age of uncontrolled piracy and they would have no choice but to boycott a flag-less terrestrial digital TV transition. At the time, one of EFF’s counter-arguments pointed to the movie companies’ continuing involvement in an earlier, successful, and DRM-free digital TV model – in Britain, which began to switch digital TV in 2007. We called the rightsholders’ bluff. Despite their bluster, they continue to participate, and profit, in both British and American digital TV markets.

      It turns out that the sky does not fall if Hollywood doesn’t control your home devices. The British and American experiences prove that. Ofcom and the BBC should stand firm to their commitment to the historical success and the future public interest of British terrestrial TV, and refuse to create this license to kill innovation.

    • Broadcast flag rears vile head, bars viewer from recording

      Is the broadcast flag rearing its ugly head yet again over a show about a California motorcycle gang trying to keep the lid on cops, druggies, and “corporate developers”? One Ars reader had his analog hole unwillingly plugged when he tried to record Sons of Anarchy last week.

    • The FCC, PTC And Bogus Indecency Counts

      Three years ago, we wrote about the “roller coaster” of indecency complaints to the FCC. Basically, there are very, very few indecency complaints, until one particular organization alerts its members to all complain at once. What’s silly is that the FCC is often influenced by this, even though most of the people complaining never actually saw the TV content in question. What’s even sillier is that the FCC apparently (very quietly) changed its process to make it easier for this group to stuff the ballots.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Recording Industry Insiders Complain About Musicians Who Argue Against Kicking People Off The Internet

      Well, well. Last week, we noted that a large number of well known musicians had come out against the idea of kicking accused file sharers off the internet, noting that it would only escalate the problem rather than solve it. But, of course, the industry organizations who claim to represent musicians’ best interests can’t have that, so this week they’re on the attack. The head of a royalty collection society apparently called the statement from musicians “grossly naive and desperately damaging.” Yes, but damaging to whom? Perhaps to collections societies, but not to artists. Smart artists know that going to war with fans is never a smart move.

    • French ‘pass’ piracy legislation

      The French National Assembly has passed a draft law that would allow illegal downloaders to be thrown off the net.

      The law was narrowly passed by 285 votes to 225.

    • Old Music Conference Shuts Down, Blames ‘Piracy’; New, Better Event Shows Up Instead

      The story behind the event is that Popkomm, one of the bigger recording industry events, held in Germany each year, was canceled this year, with the guy behind it blaming “piracy” rather than, say, the economy and structural changes in the industry. A bunch of folks in Germany who knew better decided to show Popkomm’s organizers how to organize a better event these days, and scrambled, pulling together a fun-looking event to be held at the exact same time as Popkomm had originally been scheduled.

    • US Chamber of Commerce cites #19 rank, wants tougher IP laws

      A new survey of intellectual property protections puts the US in 19th place, and that has already led for business groups to demand that the government ratchet up IP protection (again).

    • MonaVie Hits Blogger Over ‘Trademarks’ In Metadata

      Lazy Man and Money is just one of many sites (including this one) that have been critical of MonaVie, a company that has cleverly combined the miraculous, life-extending properties of the acai berry with the equally stupendous, wallet-emptying promises of a multi-level marketing company. Lazy (as the blog’s author likes to call himself) has, however, achieved one thing that other MonaVie critics apparently haven’t: He’s gotten the company’s attention, and they’re accusing him of trademark infringement.

    • Good Old Fashioned Rant On Overbearing Copyright Holders

      Hirst, apparently got so upset by a 16-year-old kid using the image in his own artwork, that he threatened to sue the kid, and forced the kid to hand over the artwork and to pay £200 to Hirst. A bunch of other artists started creating more artwork using Hirst’s skull in protest. But the whole thing got more bizarre lately, after the teen stopped by a Hirst exhibit and took a box of pencils that were in one of the “sculptures” and left a “ransom note” demanding his own artwork back. Except, the police have valued that box of pencils at £500,000 and arrested the kid. Yikes.

    • Japanese RIAA wants server-side music DRM for mobile phones

      The Recording Industry Association of Japan—the Japanese version of the RIAA—is pushing for heavier piracy controls on mobile phones. The organization is entering into talks with Japanese mobile carriers to implement a system that will check whether each and every song a user wants to play is legit.

    • Patry’s MORAL PANICS AND THE COPYRIGHT WARS: elegant, calm, reasonable history of the copyfight

      Few people are as qualified to write a book about the copyright wars as William Patry: former copyright counsel to the US House of Reps, advisor the Register of Copyrights, Senior Copyright Counsel for Google, and author of the seven-volume Patry on Copyright, widely held to be the single most authoritative work on US copyright ever written.

    • All publicly funded content should be in the public domain.

      A few years ago I hosted a mini-series for CBC Radio called The Contrarians, a show about “unpopular ideas that just might be right”. Each week I’d take a controversial opinion and try it on for size. Sometimes the show was serious, sometimes it was silly- I rarely agreed with the positions I took, but operated on the principle that no idea is so radical or offensive that we should be forbidden to contemplate it (if only to learn why we should discard it). The CBC brass was incredibly supportive of the project and I was given license to explore a lot of unorthodox subject matter.

    • Canadian Copyright Levy Group Wants New iPod Tax… But It’s Not Really For The Artists

      But they’re back at it again. And it’s really no wonder. Already the cost of a blank CD in Canada has an astounding 90% of the price go to this levy. But what happens to all that money? Well, the CPCC claims that it needs this levy to sustain the livelihood of artists. That’s also its reasoning for extending it to iPods. But, Howard Knopf dug into the numbers a bit and notes how laughable that claim is. First, CPCC claims that its brought in over $150 million from the blank CD levy, and handed it out to 97,000 rights holders “most of whom would not be able to continue their careers without this revenue.”

    • Werewolf – Release Canceled Due to Music?

      Editorial: It’s a shame that two songs can wreck an entire project, but at the same time it’s good to see Shout! sticking to their guns. Releasing a hacked up set would only anger fans of the show and blame would be focused at Shout! Factory. Now the blame will be upon the companies/bands that own the impossible-to-license songs for their inability to work things out. It’s just sad that fans won’t be able to enjoy the show on DVD, and Shout! Factory is likely out time and money they spent working on this release.

    • Best Practices In Online Promotion Of New Music Offerings

      I think this is a fantastic list — and the results of other experiments we’ve seen seem to support many of the points on this list as well. The rest of the paper is also worth reading, and I look forward to the final thesis. Of course, two small quibbles: the paper cites me a couple times, including claiming that I coined the term “competing with free.” I can’t take credit for that, though I have no idea who coined it. I was under the impression the phrase was in widespread and common usage prior to me ever mentioning it.

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