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Links 09/11/2009: Zenwalk Core 6.2 Released, Firefox Turns 5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Student Association recognizes 3 new organizations

    The Student Association Senate recognized three new groups during its Sunday night meeting.

    Some confusion arose amongst the senate when discussing whether to recognize the group NIU Linux Users Group, an organization created to help students better understand the Linux operating system.

    Initially, some senators questioned whether or not it was necessary for the SA to recognize the group.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 70

    The following Linux-based operating systems were announced last week: Mandriva Linux 2010, Monomaxos 4.0 English Edition, Scientific Linux 5.4 and Moblin 2.1. In other news: the KDE Community released the third maintenance release of the famous KDE 4.3 desktop environment. An in-depth review and tutorial of the Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system are also present in this edition. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions updated last week and the development releases.

  • And Then There’s the Community

    I do hope that in the coming years, I’d see richer interactions among people in the community. I mean, I might not be as active in the local Linux community but I still have those friendships that I have developed over the years and it still keeps me interested in the technologies and the projects that are happening here. It’s just that I can’t help but hope for more so that the community will keep on growing.

  • How to pay for Linux.

    Perhaps you wish to give something back to repay those who have voluntarily spent thousands of hours to produce quality software for free. Yes, I do say quality software. When you compare it to commercial proprietary offerings it is at least equal in terms of available functionality and I would say superior in terms of stability and security.

  • Computerbank installs Ubuntu on recycled PCs

    Computerbank Victoria is installing Ubuntu on recycled PCs as a way of making computing accessible to low income earners.

    The not-for-profit organisation, which is run by volunteers, has been using Linux in its refurbished systems since 2006. The organisation recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is on the lookout for volunteers with a strong Linux background.

  • KS2009: How Google uses Linux

    There may be no single organization which runs more Linux systems than Google. But the kernel development community knows little about how Google uses Linux and what sort of problems are encountered there. Google’s Mike Waychison traveled to Tokyo to help shed some light on this situation; the result was an interesting view on what it takes to run Linux in this extremely demanding setting.

  • Climate Modeling Research at Argonne National Laboratory

    Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s oldest and largest national laboratories for science and engineering research. Managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Argonne supports over 200 research projects in the areas of energy, biological and environmental systems, and national security and operates major experimental and computational facilities for the nation.

  • The snow cone-ometer indicates we’re gurgling at approximately 3,674.56 Belgiums per Connery!

    That fine and most reliable periodical WorksWithU decided to take a look at the nouveau driver. After a fairly innocuous introduction, they decided it’d be a great idea to do a performance test.

    It’s worth pointing out that they are, at least on some level, aware of a rather important fact: “To solve this problem, the cleverly named nouveau project was launched a few years ago to develop a full-featured, open-source video driver for nVidia chips. As its feature status chart demonstrates, it’s still maturing and doesn’t yet offer any real 3D functionality, but 2D support is implemented.” So, yes, to recap, that’s quite correct: nouveau offers no 3D acceleration.

  • CLI

    • The price you pay

      I advocate ultralight environments whenever possible, even going so far as to suggest dumping the entire X underbelly in favor of console “desktops” that use the framebuffer. It’s not for everybody — even most of my coworkers and associates consider it a little extreme — but the best reason for doing this is easily illustrated.

    • My desktop backup solution
  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Marketing Hackfest & Chicago GNOME Meetup

      While we’re there, we’d like to invite any Chicago GNOME users and developers to join us for a drink or bite to eat Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Rock Bottom Brewery at One West Grand Ave.

    • KDE

      • KAlgebra Everywhere

        So what happened? Cantor is an interface for mathematical engines (supports Maxima, Sage and R) that works on worksheets instead of just a console as we do in KAlgebra currently, like many other programs that you might know like Maple for instance. What I did was to implement a KAlgebra backend for Cantor.

      • freedom desktops closing in on me

        what other people may label “the year linux came to the desktop” they have to decide for them selves. somewhere in ’98-’99 it took my desktop and it seems that now its getting to desktops of people very near to me. i think kubuntu9.10 is a wonderful release: very valuable, yet free.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Zenwalk Core 6.2 is ready

        Like the plain 6.2, Zenwalk Core 6.2 is mostly new code (nearly all packages have been updated), and the base system has been slightly modified (EXT4, kernel The switch to LZMA for package compression has reduced the overall size of the ISO image (170MB).

      • MythTV 0.22 Final Now Available

        After a year and a half of development and two release candidates, MythTV 0.22 final is now available.

      • MythTV Theming and UI Patch Contest
    • Red Hat Family

      • Not sexy, but thriving

        Good news for enterprise business applications companies is that open source software firms are thriving. Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, saw growth in total revenue of 12%, to $183.6 million for its fiscal year 2010 second quarter ended 31 August 2009. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $156.3 million, up 15% year-over-year. It appears that when budgets are tight, open source becomes increasingly popular, so much so that even traditional software companies are exploring open source, particularly after IBM and Oracle threw their lot in with Linux.

      • Fedora 12 rocks on tablets

        Got a tablet, or want to get one, but not sure it’s going to work out in Linux? Here’s how my Thinkpad x61’s built-in Wacom tablet works in Fedora 12 Beta:

        * Tablet pressure sensitivity out-of-the-box, no xorg.conf needed! (Well okay, so that’s been the case for a couple Fedora releases now ;-) )

    • Debian Family

      • GetDeb.net Repository Makes Newer Ubuntu Apps Easily Available

        GetDeb’s web site has long been the go-to spot for Ubuntu (and Debian, and Mint) users to grab the latest copies of software not yet released by their official repositories. Now GetDeb makes it even easier with a repository.

      • Like GetDeb? Now you can get their packages from a repo

        One of the best ways to get updated software for Ubuntu Linux, as well as other Debian-based distros, is from GetDeb.net. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used their packages to get an update that isn’t available from official Ubuntu repositories or PPA’s.

      • Ubuntu: The complete beginner’s guide

        It should be possible to get Ubuntu running on a system with the following minimum hardware specification, although it is unlikely that the system would run well.
        300 MHz x86 processor
        64 MB of system memory (RAM)
        At least 4 GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space)
        VGA graphics card capable of 640×480 resolution
        CD-ROM drive or network card

      • Ubuntu should focus its marketing on LTS versions

        This strategy would have the benefit to also improve the marketing. Significant marketing efforts could be done every two years, instead of every six months, which would allow to reach more people. After all, a newspaper will not run a cover story of news that take place every six months.

      • Ubuntu 9.10

        Ubuntu still comes with all the software it always has – the things you need to get the job done. And what is not there by default is only a click or two away. Ubuntu has come to be the go-to distribution for a nice workable desktop Linux. It’s clean, up to date, and perky too. What more would you expect? Well, maybe a different color wallpaper (I like the stones one). :-)

      • “Dawn of Ubuntu” Returns

        This beautiful artwork by Armin Ronacher, have been brought back to life by Dylan McCall (the workhorse behind the new Ubiquity slideshow). In case you don’t know, “Dawn of Ubuntu” is a desktop background that has been around since Feisty Fawn.

      • Ubuntu Open Week in a Nutshell

        Ubuntu Open Week had 40 hours of session, with each session hovering at about 300 people per session. Imagine a week long 300+ conference somewhere. If you have ever attended a conference of this size you can appreciate the significance this many participants from across the world coming together across multiple timezones, without the expense of hotel rooms, travel, AV needs and food. Online conferences such as Ubuntu Open Week afford people the ability to learn in the comfort of their own homes or office.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 167

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #167 for the week November 1st – November 7th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Lucid open for development, Ubuntu Open Week review, Updating the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, Ubuntu Marketing Team revival and SpreadUbuntu, LoCo News: Tunisia, Norway, New York State, Massachusetts, Ubuntu Forums Tutorial of the Week, Ubuntu Hits Italian National TV (again), Canonical Matching Creative Commons Donations, LugRadio Documentary – Now Available Online, Team Meeting Summaries: October 2009, and much, much more!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 text-installer review

        Ubuntu 9.10, also known as Karmic koala, is the latest version of the popular Linux distribution published by Canonical Ltd. Aside from Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the netbook edition, Canonical also publishes the Live CD edition, and the alternate or text-installer edition. The Live CD edition is the edition that most users are familiar with. Though it offers a simple, six-step installation routine, the Live CD edition lacks some features supported by the alternate installer edition. Some people consider these features advanced, but I choose to view them as standard features of the Linux kernel.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Review

        Not a huge change. The boot up timings are same as Ubuntu 9.04 and EEEbuntu 3.0 (review). 40-45 seconds to the main screen

        How much space does it take? Out of 4GB SSD, after the installation had completed, I had 1.6GB free. This is with no swap space. 1.6GB should be enough for everything (except huge media files) as all the basic apps that one would need on a netbook are already built-in. From an excellent IM app (Empathy) to web-browser to robust office apps, all are there, already installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Myka Launches Intel Atom Processor-Based Over-the-Top STB Device

      The company, which has set up an open source developer community on its Web site, claims to have designed its platform to encourage third-party development: “We went with Linux,” the company states on its site. “Although it has been optimized for a set-top box environment, it still offers the tools and extensibility you would expect from Linux. Our middleware and communication layers are PHP.

    • JokerWorks rolls out Joker Racer R/C Server for R/C cars

      With technological level soaring high, JokerWorks has recently elevated the standard by launching its latest Joker Racer R/C Server, claimed to be the world’s foremost linux server for R/C cars to enable internet drive.

    • Phones

      • Droid: Enjoyed

        If I had my way, I would encourage Verizon Wireless to invest in both hologram technology and more “Star Wars” film rights. That would allow the carrier to hire an Alec Guinness lookalike who could pop up in 3-D visions in Verizon stores across the country, wave his hand over racks full of Motorola’s (NYSE: MOT) new smartphone, and in full Obi-Wan Kenobi drag intone the words, “these are the Droids you’re looking for.”

      • Palm enhances open credentials with cloud-based developer system

        Palm may not be shining as a device vendor right now, but it is increasingly in the vanguard of open development advances. It has always sought to differentiate its Linux-based webOS platform with greater reliance on open standard web tools, and now it is readying Ares, a browser/cloud based approach for programmers.

      • In Smartphone Wars, Darwinism Triumphs Over Intelligent Design

        And Microsoft? For all practical purposes, Windows Mobile is a dead platform, which is why I didn’t even bother to include it in my evolutionary chart accompanying this article. Compared to Apple and Google’s offerings, there isn’t a Windows Mobile phone on the market that can compete in terms of technology and capability with either iPhone or DROID.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Nonprofit Laptops: A Dream Not Yet Over

        Does he regret having promised so much? “When I started, I had to be knowingly hyperbolic, otherwise we could not have changed corporate strategy or swung governments into action,” said Mr. Negroponte. “It attracted the kind of attention that made this happen. Had I just said that I would make two million laptops by 2010 for children, OLPC would have been just another start-up.”


        Despite everything, Mr. Negroponte claims that the tide is turning. Late last month the Uruguayan government completed the process of distributing an XO1 to each of its 415,000 elementary school children as the first phase of the Plan Ceibal initiative to provide a laptop for every student and teacher in the country.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sun/Oracle

    • OpenOffice to release mouse with 18 buttons

      After much experimentation, it was determined that 16 buttons divided into two 8-button halves were the maximum number of buttons that could be efficiently used by feel alone. In the process of design and development, it quickly became apparent that many non-gaming applications would also benefit from having dozens of commands accessible directly from the mouse, especially applications with nested pull-down menus and hotkey combinations.

    • Oracle(R) Berkeley DB Java Edition 4.0 Now Available

      Oracle today announced the new release of Oracle® Berkeley DB Java Edition 4.0 including significant new features for high availability, scalability and performance, and demonstrating Oracle’s continuing commitment to open source, Java and the developer community.

  • Mozilla

    • After 5 years, Firefox faces new challenges

      Overall, though, Shaver believes Firefox’s position is strong. He cites as evidence the continuing growth rate–an estimated 160 million users of Firefox 3.0 exploding to about twice that now with the current Firefox 3.5.

    • Firefox at 5: The Fall and Rise of Mozilla

      If you want an excellent discussion of what exactly has happened in the browser sector during the last five years, I doubt you’ll do better than this fine post from Chris Blizzard, who rejoices in the splendid job title of “Director of Evangelism at Mozilla”.

    • Images: Firefox through the ages
    • five years of firefox

      Five years ago, on November 9th, 2004, we set the world on fire with the launch of Firefox 1.0 and the beginning of the modern era for Web browsers.

    • Firefox At Five: ‘Web Freedom May Not Last’

      Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe, may be celebrating, but he has lost none of the passion of the Firefox “mission”.

      He believes web freedoms are under threat and younger users risk becoming complacent.

  • Google

    • Dissecting Google Wave

      This is a new platform for communication, introduced at Google I/O earlier this year. It was released as developer’s preview to start early development of related applications. Undoubtedly ‘Google Wave’ has become the buzzword today and Google has offered public ‘Wave Preview’ for limited number of users

    • Google releases open source tools
    • Finish this sentence: “I ________ Google”

      Let’s take a look at news from the weekend. One tidbit in particular that came about indicating GPL code was found in a portion of Windows 7. Although this wasn’t a huge case of theft, if it turns out to be 100% verified that means Microsoft is using code illegally. Ooooh…big surprise there. And even though Apple has an open source-like license (check out Apple Open Source) why is it their products (like the iPhone or iTouch) refuse to work with open source tools? Why don’t they open up those backends so Amarok, Banshee, Songbird, or Rhythmbox can sync with their toys?

      I would venture to say that Google is doing more for the open source community than just about any other company on the planet (save for the likes of Canonical, Red Hat, Mandriva, and Novell.)

  • Business

    • Open source software ready for big business

      The combination of pumped-up technical features and relatively low prices are giving vendors with open source-based products more inroads to corporate networks than ever before.

  • Liberation

    • Sixth Sense inventor to open up soon

      Pranav Mistry says he has received many offers, but money means little to him.


      Pranav Mistry told his spellbound audience that he would open-source his project (make the code freely available) in less than a month.

    • Pseudoform

      Pseudoform is also now an open source project; the editor and source code are available for download.


    • GPL Enforcement: Don’t Jump to Conclusions, But Do Report Violations

      In short, GPL violations are common and everyday occurrences. I believe firmly they should be addressed, and I continue to dedicate much of my life to resolve them. However, finding yet another GPL violation isn’t a huge and earth-shaking discovery. Indeed, it’s what I was doing today to kill time while drinking my Sunday morning coffee.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 YouTube viewer: close, but not quite there

      Everyone knows Flash is a massive resource hog, especially on Mac or Linux. If you’re sick of totally bogging down your system whenever you want to watch a YouTube video, the new video specifications in HTML5 might be the answer. By using HTML and plugging into the Mp4 streams on YouTube, the folks at NeoSmart have created an HTML5 YouTube Viewer. It doesn’t quite work perfectly, and not every browser is ready for it, but it’s nice proof-of-concept to try out.


  • Italian judge convicts 23 in CIA kidnapping case

    An Italian judge has convicted 23 people from the US of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from Milan in 2003. The landmark case is the first involving the CIA’s controversial “extraordinary rendition” program.

  • House Panel Approves Cyber-security Awareness Act

    Legislation would mandate that National Institute of Standards and Technology develop a plan to ensure cyber-security coordination within the U.S. government.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Outlines Fed’s New Dashboard Indicators

      “What indicators should investors watch to judge whether these conditions remain in force? For resource utilization, the broadest measure is the overall “output gap” between actual and potential GDP — but in practice the unemployment rate may be more important as a measure of utilization. For inflation trends, core inflation — particularly the PCE measure used by the Fed in its forecasts — is most important. And for inflation expectations, Fed officials are probably looking at a range of measures, most importantly market-implied expectations of future inflation (i.e. the five-year, five-year forward TIPS spread) and longer-term household expectations (including the University of Michigan’s median five-to-ten-year measure).”

    • Goldman Sachs Economists on the Fed, This Should be Good
    • I’m doing ‘God’s work’. Meet Mr Goldman Sachs

      So far, so lucrative. But isn’t it simply unfair? Isn’t Goldman acting as the modern equivalent of war-time profiteer, taking advantage of global crisis and emergency government action to mint millions? Even the veteran financier George Soros says the big profits made by Wall Street banks are “hidden gifts” from the state.

      Blankfein dismisses any suggestion that Gold-man needed to be bailed out, and, by extension, rejects any notion that the firm is now profiting from public support. Sure, he took $10 billion from Washington’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp). But the bank has since repaid the cash, with healthy interest — 23%. Goldman also bene-fited from the federal bail-out of the huge US insurance firm AIG.


      “We’re very important,” he says, abandoning self-flagellation. “We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle.” To drive home his point, he makes a remarkably bold claim. “We have a social purpose.”

  • Surveillance

  • Censorship

    • WTO could be used to abolish censorship say researchers

      The World Trade Organisation has raised the delicious possibility of using its regulations to smite companies that censor their citizens’ access to the internet – before admitting that this approach is unlikely to get very far.

      A paper produced by the European Centre for International Political Economy observes that the internet and e-commerce has largely grown up outside the regulatory framework painfully built up to police international trade via the WTO.

    • Reporters face violence as Iraq cracks down on media dissent

      Iraqis are fearing a renewed crackdown on dissent as a crucial national poll draws near, with several journalists claiming to have been beaten by security forces and ministers issuing warnings about media coverage.

  • Literature

    • Lulu introduces DRM

      I’m inclined to think that at the very least, I shouldn’t publish with Lulu again; and, probably, I should also withdraw my existing publications from their system and find some other print-on-demand outfit. Is that an overreaction?

    • Ebook license “agreements” are a ripoff

      In today’s Observer Business column, John Naughton discusses what a ripoff it is for ebook vendors to “sell” you books with abusive, multi-thousand word “license agreements,” pretending that because you bought your book over the network, it wasn’t a sale, and so you don’t get to own it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Copyright Treaty Is Policy Laundering at Its Finest

      The blogosphere is abuzz over an apparently leaked document showing the United States trying to push its controversial DMCA-style notice-and-takedown process on the world. But since Threat Level already lives in the land of the DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we’re more bothered by the fact that the U.S. proposal goes far beyond that 1998 law, and would require Congress to alter the DMCA in a manner even more hostile to consumers.

      At issue is the internet section of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being developed under a cloak of secrecy by dozens of countries. The leaked document is a three-page European Commission memo written by an unnamed EU official, which purports to summarizes a private briefing given in September by U.S. trade officials.

    • The ACTA Internet provisions: DMCA goes worldwide

      New details about the Internet section of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have leaked, and critics are already claiming that they mandate “three strikes” policies and will put an end to Flickr and YouTube. The reality is less sensational but just as important: ACTA is really about taking the DMCA global.

    • Europe only goes half-way in protecting Internet rights.

      “Despite its lack of clarity and ambition, this text does provide legal ammunition to continue the fight against restrictions of Internet access. The agreed text does not meet the challenge of clearly preserving a fundamental right of access to the Net. Threats to Internet Freedom still loom, with the intense lobbying of the entertainment industries to push the ACTA treaty, which endangers Net neutrality and seeks to impose the liability of the technical intermediaries.” concludes Jérémie Zimmemrmann, co-founder of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

    • Danish anti-piracy group gives up

      Christian sez, “Just now it has been announced in the press by the official Danish Anti-Piracy agency, Antipiratgruppen, that they are throwing in the towel and will seize their operations completely; to find and prosecute music copyright offenders. Here is a translation of the first published article in today’s Danish press.”

Interview with Paul Mackerras of IBM

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