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10.02.09

Links 02/10/2009: Australian Moves to GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 9.10 Reaches Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux saves Aussie electrical grid

    QUICK THINKING open sourcerers might have saved an Australian power supply system after its electrical grid control room network got infected with a virus.

    A Windows virus hit the networks of Intergral Energy and, according to a submission to Slashdot, the virus managed to spread to the operator display consoles in the control room.

    Quick thinking techies in the control systems department of the utility swapped the infected Windows boxes for machines running Linux that they were using for development.

    The move prevented the virus from taking over all the operator displays in the control room.

  • NSW Office of State Revenue CIO reflects on five successful years of open source

    While the OSR’s official open source strategy has been in place for some time, there are indicators that suggest adoption was driven by activity at the coalface as much as it was a top-down directive. Some five years ago, NSW OSR’s then-CIO Mike Kennedy told Computerworld the agency was using commodity hardware running Linux, which it has continued to do ever since. At first Debian GNU/Linux was used, but in 2002 the system was migrated to the commercially-supported Red Hat Enterprise. This makes the OSR a very early adopter for an organisation of its size and complexity.

  • XP – Still no reason for upgrade? Vista users f***ing livid?

    The follow on question that stemmed from no person in my opinion being able to give a definitive answer was: “What are you doing with Windows that I cannot do with Linux?”

    At time of writing this the jury is still out on that one.

  • End Users Meet Year End

    There are a plethora of opportunities for geeks to meet and greet one another throughout the year: linux.conf.au, Linux Congress, OSCON, Linux Plumber’s Conference, LinuxCon, the list goes on. There is one, however, where the focus is purely on the customer, so-to-speak — the end user. The conference in question, aptly named the End User Summit, is quickly drawing near, and the Linux Foundation is wondering who wants to be there.

  • Linux on the Air – or Not?

    Got Linux? A radio ad touting the benefits of “Linux” is airing on a station in Austin, Texas, but is it a good idea? There’s no “Linux” OS, after all — there are specific distros, points out Monochrome Mentality blogger Kevin Dean, and some of them are “LESS functional than Windows.” On the show-a-little-enthusiasm side, Kevin Pogson believes the ad “will change someone’s life for the better.”

  • When is it GNU/Linux and when is it not?

    In the case of Linux: When you’re using the GNU utilities and core system, it’s GNU/Linux. When you’re not, then it’s not. For example, Android is a distinct operating system from Ubuntu. They both use the Linux kernel, but that’s where the similarities stop. Android is one example of a distinctly different operating system that shares a kernel with another operating system. Aside from the fact that Ubuntu is most commonly run on x86 or x86-64 systems and Android is most commonly run on ARM systems, if you sat the two side-by-side on the same platform you’d still have different operating systems that do things differently. This is because Android doesn’t even use the same C library as Ubuntu; many pieces of software that are stated to work on a Unix-like system such as GNU/Linux or FreeBSD assume a richer environment (closer to that specified by operating system standards). They would have to be ported to Android to run on Android successfully; that’s a major red flag that says “Oh, that’s a different operating system.”

  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 18

      In this episode: We talk about the recent Linux conferences we’ve attended, the final versions of both Moblin 2.0 and Gnome 2.28 and discuss whether Linux is bloated. Our Open Ballot asks ‘Are distro release cycles too short?’ and Andrew finds a surprisingly practical ‘Discovery of the Fortnight’.

    • Linux Outlaws 113 – Remember Cancún?

      In this show, which just narrowly scrapes under the two hour mark by a whisker, Dan and Fab discuss the CyanogenMod troubles, RMS and Miguel de Icaza, Sam Ramji and more Codeplex news as well as Dan’s experiences at LinuxCon.

  • Server

    • Plat’Home Announces OpenBlockS 600 – Smaller Faster Greener Linux Server

      -Plat’Home, Japan’s Linux pioneer, today announced the OpenBlockS 600, the new model of the OpenBlockS series, a line of compact and durable Linux micro servers. It packs a 600 MHz CPU, a full Gigabyte of RAM and Gigabit Ethernet in a palm-sized box. Heat and dust resistant and just 5 x 3 x 1 inches, it fits and survives in any small corner. And at a mere 8 W power consumption, it’s friendly to both wallet and environment.

  • Desktop

    • Putting Linux on Parental Control

      As a matter of fact, there are a number of ways you can make sure that your kids are able to use the family Linux box safely and without concern over stumbling onto something that might be deemed adult content. In this piece, I’ll share solutions that I’ve recommended to parents that also happen to be Linux enthusiasts. With any luck, each of you out there will be able to gain something from this roundup so it can be shared with others.

    • Insant-On Linux: Who Wins With It?

      Overall, Dell is doing an excellent job of providing leadership and innovation in the laptop and netbook arenas, and it’s also showing unwavering support for Linux, despite its long-standing relationship with Microsoft. The company is the very first vendor to ship a Moblin version 2 netbook, and offers nicely designed Ubuntu-based portable systems as well. In addition to its new “Latitude On” instant-on Linux, the company’s new Latitude Z notebook features wireless recharging.

    • It Has Been A Long Time Coming But 2009 Is The Year of GNU/Linux On The Desktop

      We are only 3/4 way through 2009 but there is overwhelming evidence that GNU/Linux on the desktop is mainstream, growing and healthy. The netbook phenomenon, ARM, the economy, and adoption of GNU/Linux by government and business have contributed to this movement. No one is ignoring it, making fun of it or fighting GNU/Linux effectively.

  • Applications

    • Openshot : The magic has arrived

      Openshot is a video editor for linux, is one of the best ones existing actually for linux. The news is that now has a PPA this mean easy install for Ubuntu users, but the big news is that the new version come with 30 new effects.

    • The Magic has Arrived: Effects!!!

      We have included 33 video & audio effects (30 video and 3 audio). This feature is available now (in version 0.9.42). You can install OpenShot from the PPA or .DEB installer to get the newest version.

    • Easy Video Editing Finally Comes To Linux?

      The OpenShot Video Editor application is coming along nicely, and has just released a new version complete with effects, and a fairly easy install.

    • Celestia 3D Space Simulation Software For Linux / Windows / OS X

      Celestia is a real-time visual space simulation astronomy program. It is a cross platform, open source software and released under the GNU General Public License.

    • QEMU virtualization reaches 0.11, brings 1400 changes

      Open source virtualization app QEMU has reached version 0.11 and brings some 1400 changes from 90 contributors.

      QEMU is a generic and machine emulator and virtualization application. It can be used as a machine emulator with dynamic binary translation or a “virtualizer” on x86-compatible processors.

    • Linux Games: OpenArena

      OpenArena is a fun game that, for many, will be nothing more than nostalgia. No matter the reason, you should give this game a go.

    • 3 great educational apps for Linux newbies.

      This application is a cross platform flight simulator with lots of features you might not find in other similar applications. It is an open source application that supports standard 3D model formats. Some of the features of this application include

      * Over 20,000 real world airports included in the full scenery set.

      [...]

  • KDE

    • Nokia carves out Qt future

      Qt will happily integrate with web components, thanks to a WebKit based engine for rendering online content that Nokia reckons represents the best combination of native and web-based development.

    • Amarok 2.2 “Sunjammer” released

      Few things in life can influence us quite the way music can. Music can set a mood, make us relax or feel energized, and for many people there is that special song that is forever connected with a significant moment in their life. And great music needs a great player! With Amarok 2.2, codenamed “Sunjammer”, the Amarok team is very proud to present the next step towards the ultimate music player!

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo 10.0, Sabayon 5.0, Entropy, New Servers

      After a very long recruitment period, I eventually became a Gentoo developer, yay! I’ll be helping out in Gentoo Portage and KDE teams. This is a good thing for Sabayon, thanks to this we hope to be able to reduce our Portage overlay size (mostly containing build/misc fixes) by a good 60% by injecting changes (when possible) directly into the Portage tree.

    • Puppy Linux 4.3 and Woof

      Puppy Linux 4.3.0 was released several weeks ago and with it came several interesting developments. First, this release saw the return of Barry Kauler, founder and project lead of Puppy Linux. Second, 4.3.0 includes some great new tools that have the potential to increase Puppy’s usability by empowering developers and users with thousands of extra packages.

    • Damn Small Linux Rocks!

      At the beginning of the summer, I too had a Win98 machine which I REVIVED by installing Damn Small Linux on it. This is a 50MB OS! That’s ridiculously small! It comes with GUI, games, FireFox, an office suite, and a whole lot more.

    • New Releases

    • Ubuntu

      • U Done Me Right. U Done Me Wrong

        So, what shall I talk about? Apparently, I can talk about pretty much anything. Given that this is post number one, I’m going to start with a quick overview of what you can expect here. I’ve been writing about, talking about, getting exciting about ( and a whole bunch more abouts) Linux, including other free and open source software offerings (aka FOSS) for years. I’ve given talks on Linux, done Linux training, spoken at Linux User Groups, done radio interviews and shows about Linux and FOSS, and I’ve done a number of television appearances talking about, uh huh, Linux and FOSS. You might say I’m a little passionate about it. What’s more, I believe that Linux and FOSS are good for the world.

        The world of Linux and FOSS is rich with talented people who provide us with great software and a great operating system. The landscape spans across just about every type of program imaginable, from office and productivity software, to games, to scientific tools, medical software, multimedia applications, mobile software, to the tools that provide the infrastructure of the Internet and drives the World Wide Web. In that richness of software, there are a huge number of Linux distributions geared to every need. The Linux ecosystem is extremely healthy, always evolving, unhampered by the inbreeding of other operating systems. From this came one of the most popular distributions in the Linux ecosystem; Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala opens its eyes

        Nothing quite says Autumn like the arrival of a fresh crop of Linux distros. Well, for Linux fans anyway. As usual, both Fedora and Ubuntu are gearing up for new releases, with the Ubuntu crew already pushing out the first betas of Ubuntu 9.10, dubbed Karmic Koala.

      • Ubuntu 9.10′s New Icon Theme

        Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala will ship with a new icon theme, Humanity. It still invokes the orange and brown of the old Human theme but is refreshingly modern and clean.

      • Ubuntu One: Canonical Raising Storage Limit

        Apparently, some beta testers told Canonical Ubuntu One needed a higher storage limit in order to compete effectively against rival SaaS storage and cloud services. Canonical now plans to raise the limit in time for the Ubuntu One launch this month, though the new storage limit is yet to be disclosed, according to Ubuntu One Product Manager Matt Griffin.

      • 8 Karmic Coloured Wallpapers

        …celebrate the release of Ubuntu 9.10 Beta than a smorgasbord of Karmic friendly wallpapers?!

      • My Ubuntu Vision: 10.04

        By the time 10.04 comes around, it will be easy to see how lucid the lynx has become in such a short time.

      • Ubuntu users know what a party is. No, really

        Ubuntu Linux 8 also held a party to celebrate its launch. It was in Montreal.

      • Ubuntu Open Week – November 2-6, 2009

        Hey it’s that time again. Karmic release is just around the corner (Oct 29th) and following that comes Ubuntu Open Week (November 2-6, 2009).
        I learned so much participating in Open Week for Jaunty and I am sure Karmic Open Week will blow me away as well, but only if people participate. :-)

      • Ubuntu Karmic Free Culture Showcase Winners Announced!

        With each release of Ubuntu we ship a package called example-content which provides some example video, audio, images and information that can help a new user get started exploring their Ubuntu system. In each cycle we like to use example-content as a means of showcasing a Video, Audio, and Photo/Graphic artist who releases their work under a free Creative Commons license.

    Kernel Space

    • Log-structured file systems: There’s one in every SSD

      When you say “log-structured file system,” most storage developers will immediately think of Ousterhout and Rosenblum’s classic paper, The Design and Implementation of a Log-structured File System – and the nearly two decades of subsequent work attempting to solve the nasty segment cleaner problem (see below) that came with it. Linux developers might think of JFFS2, NILFS, or LogFS, three of several modern log-structured file systems specialized for use with solid state devices (SSDs). Few people, however, will think of SSD firmware.

    • LinuxCon: the Good, the Bad, and the Nerdy

      I am now officially happy to be a Portlander. O’Reilly’s OSCON left the great city for the San Francisco Bay area, and we gained two new conferences in its wake: Open Source Bridge and LinuxCon; almost. LinuxCon is not a mainstay, but at least the first gathering was located in Portland.

      [...]

      At least The Linux Foundation tried. In reality, it looked like every other exhibit hall at every other conference I’ve attended. Frankly, most exhibitors (I was one, at LinuxCon in fact) would not show up without something new and engaging to brag about. The sponsor and exhibitor presence at LinuxCon felt the same as any other conference.

      When all was said and done, I believe most people walked away from LinuxCon feeling it was a success. And indeed, it was. It just wasn’t unique enough. There were more than an average number of interesting talks, but it was all very familiar.

      A conference could, for example, still retain the top-notch speaking talent, but at the same time do something fundamentally different. That sounds like a recipe for history making. A mixture of LinuxCon and Open Source Bridge just might change the way these “technical” conferences are organized.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Second Annual End User Summit

      The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the speaker lineup and details for its second annual End User Summit. The Summit is a unique opportunity for corporate end users to learn and interact with leaders from within the Linux community, including the highest-level maintainers and developers.

    • AMD R600/700 2D Performance: Open vs. Closed Drivers

      From the three different test profiles we used and the two graphics cards that were tested, nearly every time the open-source driver stack wound up being faster than the Catalyst 9.10 driver. Past tests of other graphics cards and drivers have shown the 2D performance to be better on the open-source side, albeit these 2D tests are not very real-world representative (nor do they reflect the CPU usage) and on the 3D side the proprietary Catalyst driver is significantly faster and more feature-rich than the current open-source code.

    • IOzone Performance Exploration, Part 2: The Rest of the Crowd (Almost)

      We finish off our IOzone performance exploration of the major Linux file systems. This time adding ext2, jfs, xfs, btrfs, and reiserfs. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready SBC controls robots, sensor networks

      Phidgets, Inc. is readying an ARM9-based single board computer (SBC) that runs Debian Linux and targets sensing and control applications, including robotics. The PhidgetSBC is equipped with an Ethernet port, four USB ports, and a WiFi USB adapter, and is available with an integrated PhidgetInterfaceKit 8/8/8 I/O board.

    • Amazon Kindle to burn into to UK next week?

      Amazon will finally launch its Kindle e-book viewer in Blighty next week, multiple sources have claimed.

    • West Point Grad Builds $300 Home-Brew Street-View Camera

      Using eight cheap webcams, a GPS receiver and open-source software, West Point graduate Roy D. Ragsdale built a rig that can do what Google’s Street-View cars do: take images of the world around it and stitch them together into panoramas. The difference? This version can be carried on your head and cost just $300 to make. The hacked-together software suite can even throw out files that can be viewed in Google Earth. Ragsdale:

      Construction was straightforward. On a flat octagonal heavy-cardboard base, I glued small posts for the cameras’ clips to latch onto. I aligned each unit and then placed the USB hubs and the GPS receiver in the middle. I secured the cables with Velcro and sandwiched everything with another piece of cardboard. The whole thing’s the size of a small pizza box, weighing less than 1 kilogram. Excluding the notebook (a 2-gigahertz machine with 512 megabytes of RAM running Ubuntu Linux), the hardware cost about $300.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • One laptop per child

        It’s with that economic improvement in mind that Rwanda is now the largest African customer for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) movement. Some 120,000 of the white and green XO machines are being purchased for the country’s young students.

      • Computer dream sees light of day

        Children in the Northern Territory have become the first Australian recipients of the XO computer, writes Anthony Caruana.

        [...]

        The processor, a 433Mhz AMD LX700, can selectively power itself down when not in use. It can even do this between keystrokes, meaning the XO can run on just two watts of energy.

      • Canonical Ubuntu Moblin Remix IDF 2009

        Walk through the Canonical Ubuntu Moblin Remix. This O/S by Intel is focused on social media and arranging conent by Zones rather then program tabs. Take a look at the latest versions that are currently being launced on Dell Mini 10 Netbooks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ex-MySQL chief joins entrepreneur foster home

    Former MySQL boss Marten Mickos, who left the free-database outfit just over a year after its acquisition by Sun Microsystems, has enrolled in a venture capital foster home for between-job entrepreneurs.

  • Former MySQL CEO Joins Benchmark Capital

    Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos is joining venture-capital firm Benchmark Capital as an entrepreneur in residence, says Benchmark partner Kevin Harvey.

  • Portland Plans to Become Open Source Mecca

    In its ongoing effort to become the coolest city in the U.S., the mayor of Portland, Oregon, is going to attempt tomorrow night to make it an “open source city,” making its data as open as possible while respecting privacy, and buying open source applications when possible.

  • The next wave of feminism crashes on the FOSS shores

    A new wave of women’s liberation is crashing on an unexpected shore, the world of free and open source developers. The FOSS communities might pride themselves with being the promoters of free, open and transparant. It is a world where a meritocracy rules, where you are judged by your skills and not by who you are of who you know. Right? Wrong! In the wake of the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit the grand master of free software, Richard Stallman, received a lot of flack due a remark that was considered sexist. This week Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth, by most accounts the mr. Nice Guy in the FOSS world, found himself in the firing line because of a remark in his LinuxCon keynote which he no doubt considered to be funny but was condescending to women. The responses to Stallman’s and Shuttleworth’s remarks are no isolated incidents. The women in the FOSS community are making themselves heard. And the men should pay attention.

  • Ten Reasons Why You Should Boycott Skype

    If you want to understand what Skype actually is, it might help to picture an almighty telephone and mail company. This company can not only spy on your private conversations and has total control over them, but it also forces you to use it. It owns the telephone lines and all mail transportation and does not let other companies use them. At the same time, you are bound to only use their telephone and mailboxes. Despite of these facts, more and more people are using Skype and even begin using the word “to skype” as a general term for talking and chatting over the internet.

  • Waiting for Chrome

    I keep expecting Google to release an alpha version of their Chrome operating system, but it hasn’t happened yet. I know they’re working on it, but that’s about all I can say. However, over in China, there’s a story of early devices running alpha Chrome and some Linux fans have made their own version of Chrome.

  • Chromium test (two days without Firefox)

    The first thing I’ll say (like everybody else) is that it is fast. Now having a 64bit Firefox with tracemonkey I can see what they mean when they say how much of an improvement faster javascript rendering makes. I did a sunspider test on the new Firefox and got 1600 score. Running the same test with Chromium got me a 1200 score.

  • WTFMM: Write the Flippin’ Monitoring Manual

    Greetings, MonitoringForge community! As was mentioned in today’s press release, we have started a project to WTFMM: Write the Flippin’ Monitoring Manual. We are inviting you to participate in the world’s largest documentation project focused on open source monitoring tools. This project is located within the MonitoringForge wiki.

  • Zimbra notches 100 percent growth

    Lost in the news of Zimbra’s release of version 6.0 of its collaboration suite is the importance of one very big number: 50 million. That’s how many paid mailboxes Zimbra claims now, a number that puts it within spitting distance of IBM Lotus Notes (approximately 145 million paid mailboxes) and Microsoft Exchange (approximately 175 million paid mailboxes). Whatever the truth to rumors that Zimbra is up for sale, Zimbra is an appreciating asset for Yahoo, not a depreciating one.

  • Yahoo’s Open Source Zimbra Gets Social

    Social media services like Twitter are becoming increasingly ingrained into our everyday computing experience. The latest push is coming from Yahoo’s new Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) 6.0 release, which includes direct integration of a Twitter client together with enterprise e-mail and collaboration capabilities.

  • Government

    • Is the UK Government really set to shed 10,000 School ICT Staff?

      From the manufacturer’s point of view it’s a loss-leader which just happens to have a big pay back for them when the students leave school with familiarity with their products. Some uncharitable people liken it to ‘hooking’ the young and vulnerable. This story is not a million miles away from putting soft drink vending machines into schools for free.

    • What Light on Yonder gov.uk Site Breaks?

      The first glint of hope for openness in the UK government begins to sparkle:

      From today we are inviting developers to show government how to get the future public data site right – how to find and use public sector information.

    • UK needs to be more open to open source

      Labour’s lapse has been so great that the Conservatives have been able to leap in with promises that they will save £600m from public expenditure by switching to OSS. The opportunity to do this, and more, is surely there. With its creative skills, culture of free health, free museums and giving blood for free, Britain ought to be a world leader in open source. It is our kind of thing.

  • Programming

    • Behind the Scenes With a Google Summer of Code Student

      The dust has settled and all of the Google Summer of Code 2009 (GSoC) students are getting back into the swing of school and jobs, but the experience they gained from participating in the project will last a lifetime. It’s a great opportunity for aspiring developers to pair up with a mentor in the community to help them learn the ropes and understand what FOSS development is all about.

    • Moving to an IDE for programming (Eclipse with PyDev)

      Eclipse is known mainly as a Java IDE and it does require Java itself, but it is also a powerful and flexible multi-purpose platform, and adaptations exist for programming in many languages, including Java, C/C++, Lisp, and Python. Python support is available with an Eclipse package called “PyDev”, and I have found it to be a big step up.

Leftovers

  • Should you report your new firm’s pirated software?

    • So he’s got say 20 workstations all running Windows XP and Microsoft Office, with Outlook as a mail client. Tell him he can save £5,000 on his software if he moves to Linux, and also save himself from having to upgrade his hardware for the next five years. He’s legal, has saved a small fortune, and you’re in for a rise!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Pirate Bay Will Not Be Sold ‘Yet’

      Little over a month ago, Global Gaming Factory (GGF) announced that its shareholders had agreed to buy The Pirate Bay – the only thing that stood in their path was the actual money transfer. Today the deadline to transfer the money passed silently, putting an end to the deal and three turbulent months.

    • Music biz still in need of “radical overhaul” to thrive

      The music industry is stuck in a rut and it needs to make some radical changes if it wants to stop bleeding money, according to Forrester. The firm has several suggestions for how to overhaul music products and insists that they must be consumer-friendly, not business-oriented.

    • A better way to sink internet pirates

      The only way to tackle illegal filesharing is not suppression, but to offer reliable, easy to use, fairly priced alternatives

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    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?


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