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11.24.09

Links 24/11/2009: New GNOME Journal, Free Software in Estonian Government

Posted in News Roundup at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Review: Kahel OS

    I would look forward to see Kahel OS further incorporate Arch Linux’s flexibility into the installer and yet maintaining Its simplicity. Like giving users an option to choose a group like full/light desktop or desktop with multimedia needs during the installation proccess. A gui installer would also be an good addition for Kahel OS.

  • CERN’s LHC pioneers quantum leap in cloud computing

    Born from the collaborative efforts of more than 80 people in 12 different academic and industrial research centres as part of the EGEE Project, gLite provides an open-source framework for building grid applications tapping into the power of distributed computing and storage resources across the Internet.

    [...]

    It is expected that these sorts of open source middleware solutions emerging in the academic realm will increasingly inform the development of applications in the corporate environment running on Linux and other platforms in the future.

  • Google

    • Chromium OS – Digging deeper into the open source Chrome OS

      With the arrival of the first code of Chrome OS, also known as Chromium OS in its open source form, the H takes a deeper look at the browser-centric operating system.

    • Chrome OS packaged for virtual run-throughs

      Hackers have compiled bootable images of the code released by Google’s Chrome OS project. We tested out one of the images on VirtualBox, and despite the limitations of the early code, we found a flexible, extensible web browsing environment that runs well in as little as 256MB of RAM.

  • Kernel Space

    • Advisory Against WiFi Drivers in Linux Staging Tree

      Williams recommends working with the drivers “with a future,” which use the kernel’s mac80211 stack (such as the rtx00 drivers), and leave the old drivers alone. There are just too few developers, he says, and priorities must be set. In the former case developers might have to wait six months to get a decent wireless driver, but then will get great software, with power-saving, background scanning and other modern functions.

    • PulseAudio 0.9.21 Arrives With Device Manager

      It was less than two weeks ago that PulseAudio 0.9.20 was released as a bug-fix release, but PulseAudio 0.9.21 was pushed out today to offer up more bug-fixes. Besides carrying eight bug fixes to this software package that is loved by some and hated by others, PulseAudio 0.9.21 also integrates the device-manager module.

  • Games

    • Alien Arena 2009 – Dark, morbid and a whole lot of fun

      Alien Arena 2009 is a big improvement over the earlier releases. But even when you judge it from its own perspective, the latest Alien Arena 2009 is a good game. It may not appeal to everyone, especially people who prefer brightly lit or open First Person Shooters. But for Doom-lovers, it’s ideal.

      The game setting is morbid, dark, with lots of fizzling-green-bubbly-radiation symbols that characterized the early age of atomic/space research. I dare hazard to say that it may not be suitable for younger people. On the other hand, for those sane of mind and soul, Alien Arena is great fun. Lots of colorful maps and weapons, good music, fast, brutal, uncompromising action. Everything you need after a long, hard day at work.

    • Quake 4 Bot that actually works
  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Wikis to open drug development sharing

      Taking the open concept a step further is the Bioinformatics Organization, an open source practitioner that uses wiki software to let researchers post their models, questions, experiments and discoveries.

      [...]

      The Bioinformatics Internet site currently notes the release of BioPuppy 2.0, a minimal Linux operating system and workbench for bioinformatics and computational biology. Version 2.0 is based on the current Linux kernel version on Puppy Linux 4.2.1.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Cash in on tech buying binge

        One strategy is to look for potential acquisition targets. Red Hat Inc. (RHT/NYSE) is a leader in open source software and enterprise computing based on the Linux operating system. It could make a tempting acquisition for a company like IBM. Conservative investors won’t like Red Hat’s price-to-earnings ratio of 62, but they’ll be impressed by the firm’s track record in tripling its revenue over the past four years.

    • Debian Family

      • PiTiVi – A brief overview.

        The next release of Ubuntu Linux, code named Lucid Lynx, will come with some new apps that will be making their first debut. If the rumors going round is correct, then one of the newbie apps will be the video editor PiTiVi. We also know that the very powerful but overly complex looking GIMP will be dropped but will of course remain in the repos for those that use it. So today, I’d like us to just take a brief look at PiTiVi, what it is, what it can do and more.

      • Nice Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) Wallpapers
      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 169

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #169 for the week November 15th – November 21st, 2009. In this issue we cover: Lucid Ubuntu Developer Summit Videos, New LoCo Council Members, America’s Membership Board Meeting: November 18th, 2009, Developer Membership Board public meeting, LoCo Contact Change: Wisconsin LoCo Team, Doctor Mo: Ice Skating at UDS, Matthew Helmke: Heading Home from UDS-L, Joe Baker: An Interview with Richard Johnson (nixternal), Martin Pitt: Nicer Launchpad upstream releases with lp-project-upload, and much, much more!

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 60
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Four-bay SOHO NAS runs Linux

      Synology America Corp. is shipping a four-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device, offering up to 8TB sharable RAID storage for home and small business users. The Linux-based DS410j is equipped with an 800MHz processor, a gigabit Ethernet port, two USB ports, and version 2.2 of Synology’s DNLA-compliant Disk Station Manager software.

    • Cortex-A8 COM offers extended temperature support

      Italian embedded Linux firm Dave announced a CPU module based on Texas Instruments’ ARM Cortex-A8-based AM3505 and AM3517 system-on-chips (SoCs). The 2.7 x 2/0-inch “Lizard” module offers connectivity including CAN, I2C, Ethernet, and serial I/O, provides extended temperature support, and is available with a Linux-ready evaluation board.

    • Phones

      • Android Continues To Make Inroads

        Google’s Android is growing like a weed. Perhaps even a weed that’s been fertilized and watered as if it was a desirable flower. A new report from AdMob lays out some impressive usage statistics and hints that there’s much more to come.

      • Nokia N900 mobile phone

        The N900 drops the moniker of “internet tablet”, choosing to push forward with “mobile computer” as this model comes in to supplant the N810, released back in 2007. Two-years along and the landscape of internet-savvy mobile devices has changed greatly. Can this Nokia pocket computer trade blows with the best of them?

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Powerful Ideas in Sugar Learning Platform

        The Sugar software for the OLPC XO (and, with Sugar on a Stick, for almost any other recent computer with an x86 processor) is based in part on Seymour Papert’s educational classic, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.

        [...]

        Another powerful idea is to replace printed textbooks with media and software under Free Licenses such as GPL (GNU Public License) or Creative Commons, as California has begun to do with PDFs of textbooks. But we can go further that that. We can use Sugar tools to create models in math and science. We can use the XO for data acquisition, using Measure and Record, the digital oscilloscope and camera, and we can use the math capabilities of Sugar software to analyze the data. We can help children explore the vast realms of art, music, and literature. But how do we get children to that level?

      • Showcase your free and open source projects

        OLPC NZ (One Laptop Per Child) will be there to entertain children with the new XO laptops. There will also be a number of talks scheduled during the LCA2010 Open Day, which will introduce you to FOSS software. The event is free for all to attend.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Roundcube: the world’s coolest Open Source webmail project?

    At Sirius we have recently started using and deploying Roundcube in favour of the tried and tested (but very old) Squirrelmail. Impressed by it’s beautiful front-end, ease of use and obvious extensibility, Tom Callway spoke to Till Klampaeckel and Thomas Bruederli, two of Roundcube’s core developers, to find out more about this exciting project.

  • Digium Expands Partner Program With New Level

    Digium is expanding its channel partner program — potentially engaging more resellers that want to embrace Asterisk, the open source IP PBX. Digium has been particularly active with channel partners in recent months. Here’s the scoop.

  • Free labour

    Jason Walsh is in favour of free software, so why does he have a problem with the worlds of open source and free content?

  • Open-source EMR opens doors to quality care

    Among the technologies Kanter is working with is OpenMRS, an open-source EMR platform developed in Kenya to be the foundation of self-sustaining health IT implementation in parts of the world stricken by HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases that make the H1N1 virus look like the sniffles.

  • Semantics

    • The Success of “Open Source”

      You might not know it based on some current community commentary, but at its origin the term “Open Source” was intended to be a straight drop-in replacement for “Free Software”. There was no philosophical or conceptual difference; instead there was a linguistic concern (”free” has multiple meanings) and a marketing concern (”free” makes “corporate types nervous”).

      To a very large degree, the marketing angle has been a smashing success: “Open Source” is a fantastically popular buzzword, so popular in fact it is applied to home plans, literature, live rock concerts, embroidery, scientific research, mayoral elections, and a wide array of other non-Software happenings with varying degrees of accuracy in the labeling.

      There are two problems with this “success”:

      1. “Open Source” is distorted, stretched and co-opted for (im)pure marketing purposes; and
      2. “Open Source” is applied with only the vaguest understanding of what it actually means

    • Defining open mobile

      At least part of that perception problem, it turns out, is the many definitions for the word “open.” (See a sampling of definitions we collected for “open” scattered throughout this cover package.) There are open models for the distribution of content and apps, open-source operating systems and open-access policies pertaining to the network itself. An operator can be open in one sense but closed in another. For his part, Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, refuses to get caught up in parsing definitions.

  • Google

    • Google reveals Chrome OS – Google and it’s love of Open Source Continues

      Google announced that Chrome OS will include a unique security mechanism. After reading Google’s announcement, Google has decided to return to the basics by entirely revamping the underlying security structure of the OS. This will mark Google’s attempt to combat the ever so present viruses, malware and all too common security patches.

    • Google goes all-in with an open source cloud

      Google quietly announced last week that its cloud will run nothing but open source software.

      This is a big deal, but let’s first admit why Google did it.

  • Sun

    • Oracle May Remove Competitor in Sun Purchase, EU Says

      Oracle would have “total control” of MySQL’s source code and intellectual property, the European Commission said in a document obtained by Bloomberg News. Oracle could change the terms of MySQL’s open-source licenses, restricting the ability of other companies to develop competing products.

    • Oracle gets more time to defend Sun buy

      The European Commission (EC) has granted Oracle extra time to respond to its anti-trust concerns over the US$7.4bn ($8.1bn) acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

    • Nexenta Systems pushes NexentaStor forward with open storage and ZFS

      Nexenta Systems Inc. is sticking with Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Zettabyte File System (ZFS) despite uncertainty around the open-source file format, and recently upgraded its NexentaStor unified storage software based on ZFS and Sun’s OpenSolaris.

  • CMS

    • Linux Journal using Drupal and Mollom

      Linux Journal is a monthly magazine focused specifically on Linux. Linux Journal switched to Drupal in 2005, and hasn’t looked back since. Last year in October of 2008 Linux Journal decided to turn to Mollom to protect their site against spammers.

    • Joomla! investment in devs paying off

      Elin Waring, the president of Open Source Matters , the non-profit that administers the project, said in a post on the Joomla! community portal that targeted fund-raising had enabled the project to pay Louis Landry and Andrew Eddie to each spend one to two days working on Joomla! over the last two months.

    • Momentum Builds for Open Content Management Standard

      Open-source CMS vendor Alfresco is also a backer. The company said Monday it has included support in the 3.2 version of its platform for CMIS 1.0, which is now in a public review period scheduled to end Dec. 22. CMIS’ inclusion in Alfresco 3.2 will enable users to get a hands-on look during the review period, the company said.

    • UMS portal may not cost students

      Gregory said one of the vendors that presented at a Sept. 30 meeting of the visioning committee is Unicon, a software consulting services firm that focuses on software portals for universities. It is unknown if Unicon is the vendor that offered the $20 per student fee estimate. Unicon presented two products to the committee: uPortal and Liferay, both open-source options.

      Redonnett said the four options Caruso and the IT directors are considering are an open-source program from a vendor, joining a consortium of universities that use an open-source option, a portal developed by a vendor around a set of requirements defined by the system and a pre-developed solution from a company. She said about 70 percent of colleges and universities have software portals like the one proposed for the system or are currently working to create one.

  • Business

    • Enterprise integrator launches open source solution

      Systems integrator, Object Consulting, has struck an enterprise software partnership with open source vendor, Ingres.

    • Give and take

      So, why then have so many players turned their back on their moral obligation to repay the value open source has brought into their lives with an equal or reciprocal effort?

      The only answer I can think of is greed.

      Uninformed hardware vendors (who are feeling the pain of the economic downturn worse than the other players in the IT market) are some of the biggest culprits, bundling freely downloadable versions of Linux and products that aren’t backed by any form of support infrastructure on their desktops, notebooks and servers – and claiming that they support open source.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • FSF works with PayPal to the benefit of the free software community

      The Free Software Foundation thanks PayPal for responding to its concerns and making its terms more free software friendly.

    • Bona fide open source

      Has open source become a victim of its own success as businesses identify as it just to look good?

      [...]

      The Free Software movement emerged from Richard Stallman’s project to create a a UNIX-like free operating system in September 1983.

      ‘Open Source’ emerged much later, in 1998, after Linux and free software had begun to amass a substantial following among users and developers and had made significant inroads into the computer industry.

      Some saw ‘open source’ as a radical departure from the objectives of free software, but many saw it as a rebranding which made it easier to sell free software to a business audience, shorn of the political trimmings that gave the free software movment its edginess.

      The Open Source Definition took its substance from the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

      “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement,” wrote Stallman.

  • Government

  • Programming

    • Ruby shining on Java, Windows, and Mac OS

      Future plans for JRuby include cleaning up performance issues, offering a new optimizing compiler and JVM integration parity with other languages, such as Groovy. Also planned is support of the Java 7 invokedynamic capability, to improve how Ruby does method calls. Code will run faster via this capability.

    • NYT: SAS facing stiff competition

      In a front-page article in Sunday’s business section, the New York Times takes a look at SAS and how it is increasingly facing competition from both proprietary and open-source alternatives.

      [...]

      But competition is coming from the other direction, too: open-source. The article specifically mentions R, which competes with SAS to offer high-end statistical and predictive analyses.

    • New open source language for developing digital signal processor

      The high-level language, called Feldspar (Functional Embedded Language for DSP and PARallelism, a language embedded into Haskell), will make DSP software development easier and more efficient, says András Vajda, senior specialist in Software Research and project coordinator at Ericsson for Feldspar.

Leftovers

  • Prosecutors Drop Plans to Appeal Lori Drew Case

    Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed a notice that they do not intend to pursue an appeal in the Lori Drew cyberbullying case, thus ending the controversial and lengthy case.

  • Here’s a First: Man Arrested for Not Using Twitter

    Terrifying? Inevitable? Harbinger? In any case, it’s a first: Police in Long Island, New York, have arrested a man for not using Twitter.

    Someone named Justin Bieber, who apparently is a teenage singer, was supposed to appear at the Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, but stayed away because the crowd had become too unruly. Police asked a record label executive to help disperse the horde using the messaging service, and claim he didn’t cooperate.

  • Traffic cameras used to harass and limit movement of peaceful protestors

    Britain is full of license-plate cameras, cameras used to send you tickets if you’re caught speeding, or driving in the bus-lane, or entering London’s “congestion-charge zone” without paying the daily fee for driving in central London. And because of Chekhov’s first law of narrative (“a gun on the mantelpiece in act one will go off by act three”), the police have decided to also use these cameras as a surveillance tool, to “catch terrorists” (and other bad guys). So any police officer can add any license number to the database of “people of interest” and every time that license plate passes a camera, the local police force will receive an urgent alert, and can pull over the car, detain the driver, and search the car and its passengers under the Terrorism Act.

  • Dear PR People: If Your Exec Has A Comment, Our Comments Are Open

    I recently put a message on Twitter about this, saying that, for all the PR people who had someone “available for comment” on stories, the comments on Techdirt are enabled and open for them to comment on any story they feel is relevant. It got a really good response on Twitter, so I figured I’d expand on it into a post. If you are a PR person, and you represent someone who has “a comment” on a particular story, please point them to the site where they are free to comment away, along with everyone else, as a part of a conversation, not some PR effort. And, please don’t be offended if I just emailed you a link to this post in response to your offer to have some random exec “comment” on some unrelated story.

  • Finance

    • Goldman’s Non-Apology

      That is absurd. Goldman has repaid its initial $10 billion bailout allotment, but that is only a sliver of its taxpayer support. The firm was paid $12.9 billion, for example, in the bailout of American International Group, and a report by the bailout’s inspector general refutes Goldman’s claim that it did not need the money. Perhaps the biggest continuing prop is that the government clearly considers Goldman too big to fail, which means that taxpayers are on the hook if Goldman faces the abyss again.

    • I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs

      Goldman’s status in the event of an AIG collapse would have been that of a credit default swap counterparty during a global crisis with very special circumstances. Goldman thought it would get to keep the billions in dollars it received from AIG, if AIG collapsed. That would normally be the case, but these would have been extraordinary circumstances inflamed by value-destroying CDOs over which Goldman had pricing power, and Goldman had underwritten some of the CDOs. Authorities charged with resolving a collapse of AIG may have clawed back a substantial portion of the collateral.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Tax Rate Drops to 1%, or $14 Million

      Goldman Sachs, which got $10 billion and debt guarantees from the U.S. gov’t in October, is on pace for the best year in the firm’s history but it is only paying 1 percent in taxes! Yahoo: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanely are looking to give India $1 billion in IT outsourcing contracts. Hell of a way to thank American taxpayers and workers.

    • Citizen Action coming to Jersey City to demand Goldman Sachs donates bonus money

      Goldman Sachs still owes the government $53 billion in bailout money, yet the company is making record profits and paying out big bonuses while millions of citizens are losing their jobs, the group said.

    • Sorry just doesn’t cut it, Goldman-Sachs

      So Goldman-Sachs,

      * put many former employees in positions of government allowing unchecked derivatives to flourish (to the tune of hundreds of trillions of dollars) and removing regulation that may have prevented this asset bubble, in effect financialising our government,
      * fueled the sub-prime mortgage crisis through securitization and encouraging mortgage brokers to make the loans without proper due diligence,
      * paid rating agencies to get (triple) AAA ratings on junk bonds,
      * took the other side of their clients’ trades after they sold them the bad debt,
      * took insurance on the bad debt at AIG without telling any clients,
      * watched the markets collapse and millions of people get traumatized as they lost their jobs by the millions,
      * eliminated their competition (Lehman, Merrill and Bear Stearns) by way of Hank Paulson letting them fail,

    • Goldman’s Response to Questions About A.I.G.
    • Wall Street: Is It Good to Apologize for Greed?

      It happened during another turbulent era in finance: The 1901 takeover battle over the Northern Pacific railroad, perhaps the fiercest such contest in U.S. history. However, like so many struggles on Wall Street to this day, it was really a fight for power and dominance, of outsized ego and overheated rivalry.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Senators Sanders and Brown ask White House to make ACTA text public

      The letter says “the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude.”

      Senators Sanders and Brown say the ACTA negotiations have not been conducted in a manner consistent with the President’s January 21, 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

    • Heads Of Major Movies Studios Claiming They Just Want To Help Poor Indie Films Harmed By Piracy

      It looks like the heads of the studios have all received their talking points from the same source (MPAA?) on this one. They’re going to talk up the supposed harm to indie films, even as the indie film market appears to be figuring stuff out on its own (in part due to smart indie film producers embracing file sharing as a better means of distribution and promotion). My guess is that the strategy is a response to the realization that those massive box office returns don’t look good when the major studios argue for more draconian copyright laws, so just as the RIAA makes up stories about “protecting the up-and-coming artist,” the major studios and the MPAA are now using a bogus PR strategy of “protecting the indie filmmaker,” when all they really want are more laws to offer additional protectionist policies for the next blockbuster.

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