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12.14.09

Links 14/12/2009: Oracle Makes Commitment and Gets EU Pass

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What would Al Gore use?

    But the movie was 3 years ago, what does Al Gore use now? According to netcraft.com, algore.com uses Linux. Surely if Microsoft Windows was really “the new efficiency”he would have switched. Sorry Mr. Ballmer, the Linux grass is greener.

  • Geek Holiday Guide: Gifts, Stress-Busters and a Fast Track to Jan. 4

    Then there was Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack, who’s dreaming of “a decent mp3 player with OGG and FLAC support that only needs standard USB drivers to work.

    “Combine that with a decent set of noise-isolating ear canal headphones, and you have a surefire way of letting your favorite geek avoid all of the over-repeated, attempting-cute-but-failing-badly, ridiculously annoying music that tends to get played over the month of December,” he explained.

  • Linux and windows stereotypes.

    In our lives we tend to apply stereotypes. Everyone has a stereotype for their work, ethnic persuasion or geographical location. Particularly in the computing industry there exists, often spiteful, stereotypes between windows and Linux advocates. They not only have stereotypes for the ‘other side’ so to speak but also for themselves.

    Stereotypes are a brand that everyone does not like to be compared to, however, like myths, there is often a germ of truth. Cops like doughnuts, postmen are scared of dogs, Europeans are wimps and Americans are crass. Well I like doughnuts but I am not a policeman. A lot of my friends are scared of dogs. Anyone who watches sports will know that Europeans are definitely not wimps and I know a lot of very nice and cultured Americans.

    [...]

    Linux stereotypes for themselves.

    * Linux is the best thing since sliced bread.
    * It is so easy to use that Grandma can use it.
    * It is Enterprise ready and can handle all business needs.
    * They believe that software should be free for everyone to use and modify.
    * Linux is more secure than windows and doesn’t suffer from virus’s and malware.
    * They contribute to Linux because they want to.

    Linux stereotypes for windows.

    * Windows users are dumb and uneducated.
    * They throw away money for a second rate operating system.
    * Windows crashes every second day and has to be reloaded all of the time.
    * Windows is not secure and full of viruses and malware.
    * Windows users are obnoxious and spread FUD all the time.
    * Microsoft only cares about making a profit.

  • Top Geeks To Converge On Wellington

    When the first Australasian Linux conference (LCA) was held at Monash University, Melbourne in 1999, it was funded entirely from one of the founder’s personal credit cards. Since then, the conference has gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the biggest corporate sponsors such as Google, HP and IBM. In 2010, LCA will come to Wellington, New Zealand from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 January, bringing together some of the brightest minds in the free and open source community.

  • Is Desktop Linux Handicap Accessible?

    Surprisingly, yes, today’s Linux distros are more accessible than I had thought when I first started researching this topic. While speech recognition has a way to go, other aspects of desktop accessibility are showing tremendous levels of progress.

  • Google

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel support for infrared receivers

      One of the stated goals of the staging tree is to bring widely-used drivers into the mainline kernel tree. This effort has been quite successful; the number of out-of-tree drivers has dropped considerably over the last year or so. There is one high-profile holdout, though: the Linux Infrared Remote Control (LIRC) subsystem. LIRC is used to obtain input events from remote control devices and feed them through to applications; Linux-based digital video recorder systems are heavy LIRC users, but there are others as well. Back in October, Jarod Wilson posted a new version of LIRC for consideration. One month later, the kernel developers have started talking about it; what they lack in punctuality has been more than made up for in volume.

    • With Linux 2.6.32, Btrfs Gains As EXT4 Recedes

      While the EXT3 file-system has been in the mainline Linux kernel since 2001 and work started on it back in the late 90′s, this mature file-system (that used to be the default for most Linux distributions up until this year when more vendors began adopting EXT4) is still running strong with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel. In fact, after the recent EXT4 changes, EXT3 by default is faster than EXT4 in many of our disk benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Watch out Microsoft: GNOME is poised to have a killer 2010

      With 3.0 on the horizon, it made me wonder — when was the last time you looked at GNOME? This open source desktop project actually celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 (March, 2009). It had intended to release the much ballyhooed 3.0 version this year, but for various reasons, decided the latest release, available in October, would be better off named GNOME 2.30.

    • Community, Identity, Stability

      The second beta release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4 is coming up in about a week and a half. It’s a long name for a release, but it carries with it additional meanings and allows emphasis in important areas which were not as strongly emphasized before.

  • Distributions

    • Pimp my Slack!

      I am a KDE fan. Besides the eye-candy, I love the KDE apps. They are much better at functionality than their Gnome counterparts, e.g-> Brasero in Gnome has caused a lot of burn failures, whereas K3b is just perfect. Gnome just gets in your way of doing things. Anyway, this article is about what I did with my default Slackware install to make it more beautiful. Before I proceed let me tell you, I will be using Slackware 13.0 with vbatts KDE4.3.1 packages, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you if you are using any other KDE version!

    • A look at LinuxConsole 1.0.2009

      At the end of the week, I found myself liking LinuxConsole. It’s not perfect, but it has a clean way of doing things. The modular design is well done and the system is very light. The range of functionality is good for a mere 200 MB download and I’m sure my experience would have gone even smoother had I downloaded the DVD image, which contains all the bells and whistles. There are a few things I’d like to see worked on for the next release, the most important area probably being documentation. Some basic things are covered on the web site, but for the most part, the user is left to click on things to find out what will happen.

    • New Releases

      • Distributions: No winter break in Linux land

        With Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 now out the door, developers are already turning their attention to the spring releases. KDE3 has definitively gone the way of the dodo as far as openSUSE and Mandriva are concerned. Google is taking its first steps in the operating system market with Chrome OS.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora 12

        Fedora is a bleeding edge distro designed to include the latest and greatest ‘libre’ software. The distro aims to ‘lead rather than to follow’.

        [...]

        Despite some of these issues, I have to say I really liked this release of Fedora. Stability improved in leaps and bounds as updates were put out, and the cutting edge nature of the distro means that all the latest software is available, unlike other distros.

      • Managing virtual machines in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4

        Managing virtual machines (VMs) in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 with the VM management tools virt-manager and virsh makes it easier to get a handle on your Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) environments.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2009.8 Installation Visualization – VirtualBox

        Here’s another visual walkthrough of an installation. This time of Arch Linux Core (Core has all the base packages on CD and you have the option for a network, or cd install), which is typically for the more advanced Linux users.

        I’m not going to commentate per screenshot because well, it’d take me FOREVER. I’ll do a few though, and hope I don’t get carried away.

      • ArchLinux + modular KDE 4 + Tools = Chakra (Alpha 4)

        Yet for another time, I find myself switching distros. I hope am not addicted or something :) . If not for anything else, I am enjoying the ride! This time is Chakra, and I must admit, am impressed!

    • Debian Family

      • 30 reasons why Ubuntu is here to stay
      • Linux Mint: Making Linux easy

        Linux Mint 8 also simplifies the desktop by doing away with the dual-menubar layout preferred by Ubuntu in favour of a single menubar across the bottom of the screen. Mint also trims down the tripartite Applications/Places/System menu of Ubuntu and condenses this into a single Main Menu flyout. This adds a layer of simplicity to the Mint desktop and mimics the style of the Windows desktop, with which most users are familiar.

        Despite criticisms over its use of non-free software tools and its obvious catering for entry-level users, Linux Mint has clearly found its niche, regularly ranked among the five most popular Linux versions on Linux tracker Distrowatch.com.

        Long time Linux users probably won’t be rushing out to try Mint Linux but for users looking to take a first step into Linux, Linux Mint 8 could be one of the better starting points.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Best Linux Distributions for Netbooks

      A Linux distribution is a Linux operating system distributed by a specific vendor, such as Ubuntu. The best Linux distribution for your netbook varies according to your personal preferences and which netbook PC you own or plan to purchase. For example, if you are familiar with using Ubuntu on a desktop PC, you might prefer to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on your netbook PC. Alternatively, you can purchase a netbook with a preinstalled Linux operating system.

    • Netbook screen too small? Not for this Linux software

      I love my little “netbook” laptop computer, barely the size of a small hardcover book. But running programs on it turned out to be more frustrating than I’d imagined.

      The problem? Programs written for standard computers often come with toolbars along the top, status bars along the bottom and a dozen other gadgets that take up precious room on a netbook screen.

    • Sugar Gets Sweeter: Former OLPC Exec Walter Bender on Netbooks, E-books, Blueberry, and Cloudberry

      Second, Bender hinted that the next release of Sugar on a Stick after Blueberry, code named “Cloudberry,” will take Sugar in some very interesting new directions, bringing capabilities like cloud-based storage to Sugar users. That ought to make it easier for teachers and students to share documents and applications, for one thing. Click through to the end of the interview for the details.

Free Software/Open Source

  • From Hype To Hype
  • A bad workman blames his (open source) tools

    A car mechanic, generally speaking, knows that Snap-on brand tools are some of the best in the industry and that it takes a proper monkey not to be able to use one of the company’s wrenches properly.

    The problem with open source software application development (if there is one) you might argue is that there are so many comparatively ‘ungraded’ tools out there that you can find yourself using a product that is not necessarily best suited to the job in hand.

  • Arduino development on OpenSolaris

    Part of the draw of Arduino development is that it is open-source and cross-platform. It is hard to believe that it took this long but OpenSolaris can be added to the list of operating systems that love to work with Arduino.

  • Databases

    • Oracle customers and MySQL users speak out

      Behind closed doors, over Thursday and Friday, the European Commission has been holding a hearing on the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. The Wall Street Journal reports that several Oracle customers, including the Spanish bank BBVA, Vodafone UK, the National Health Service and the Oracle user group, spoke in support of the acquisition. The hearing had been preceded by an initiative by Oracle to mobilise customers to speak out on the Commission’s objections to the takeover.

    • The European Commission and Oracle-Sun

      I spent last Thursday and Friday in Brussels, attending the European Commission’s Oral Hearing in the competition investigation of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. The proceedings at the Oral Hearing were confidential; I cannot write about the presentations made there by others. I can, however, summarize the three points I made during my brief presentation on Friday; my previous written submission to the commission is already available. I want to explain what I said and where I think we stand now that the Oral Hearing is over.

      [...]

      If the “remedy” chosen is to permit the merger unconditionally, the likeliest outcome is the one most favorable to competition. For its own business reasons, Oracle will heavily invest in MySQL’s future. In due course, Oracle should upgrade the license of MySQL to GPLv3, and should accept and integrate third-party patches under that license. This will provide safety from any future patent aggression by any of the community’s members against the program. By diversifying its copyright ownership, MySQL will become a pure GPL commons. The companies that currently sell MySQL in proprietary combinations can continue to use and upgrade their products with their own maintenance and enhancements, if they don’t want to come into the GPL community. Oracle will continue to have exactly the same business reasons to support and lead the MySQL community, and the same reasons to be apprehensive for their position should they be poor stewards of the community’s value. And everyone else can invest in MySQL with the knowledge that they will always have access to the value of everyone else’s investments as well as their own. The modularity and flexibility of MySQL’s architecture will maximize the extent of the value everyone can realize from the commons. By selling support for the world’s most installed database, Oracle can project itself everywhere that Microsoft SQL Server might want to go, and can drive SQL Server into competition with a price-zero GPL’d community product, which experience as well as theory shows is a game Microsoft can’t win.

      So the GPL ensures robust and beneficial competition in the global software industry. Once again.

    • MySQL Needs Your Help, Now!

      Second, the idea that Oracle should not acquire MySQL without limitations or conditions has been championed by such luminaries as Richard Stallman. While Eben Moglen wrote a missive on behalf of Oracle, his idea that any fork using GPL code has the exact same business opportunities Oracle has is, plainly, absurd. It shows a deep misunderstanding of how MySQL’s dual licensing has worked to build a viable business from Free Software. In short, Stallman “gets it,” Moglen does not.

    • Oracle concessions on Sun merger get EC thumbs up

      Oracle’s planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems looks set to win regulatory approval by the European Commission.

      The companies’ latest promises to safeguard competition in the market for database software, make the Commission optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, it said today.

    • Oracle-Sun merger gains favor in Europe

      The Commission, Europe’s top antitrust regulator, hosted a two-day hearing at the end of last week, giving Oracle the chance to defend its planned deal with Sun. Since then, officials in the Commission’s competition division have been engaged in discussions with Oracle over the weekend about how to allow the deal to go ahead without harming Sun’s open source database, MySQL.

    • Oracle makes commitments on MySQL – Update

      Oracle has publicly committed to enhance MySQL under the GPL, not force third parties to GPL their storage engines and increase spending on MySQL development. The promises were part of ten commitments in a press statement which Oracle says is the result of “constructive discussions with the European Commission”. This is a reference to the hearings which took place on Thursday and Friday at the Commission, which is deciding on whether to allow Oracle to acquire Sun Microsystems, current owner of MySQL. It is believed that the Commission may make a decision today (Monday the 14th) or within the next two weeks as a result of the hearings.

    • Open Source, MySQL, and trademarks

      Greg Stein (Apache developer and all-around nice guy) made an off-hand comment about open source trademarks in an article(How to Screw Your (Open Source Software) Customers). He was talking about how many users of MySQL have actually using a purchased proprietary licensed copy of the software, and not the open source licensed copy. MySQL’s business model uses dual licensing: the GPL, and for the folks whom its strictures are unacceptable, a standard proprietary license. I agree with his point in general: that that’s a great way to confuse your customers into thinking that they’re using open source software.

  • BSD

    • Why the BSDs get no love

      So to the BSD community I beg you, make modern your image. Stop playing in your basement laboratory and show the rest of the world how powerful you really are. Just make sure when the masses of the world see you they don’t think, “Oh, how outdated is that?” Gain the love you deserve, BSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Freedom or Sponsors, Not Both? by Thomas King

      Does lack of membership to FSF and GNU mean you don’t support software Freedom? Heavens, no! However, separating yourself from them says there is something you don’t like about their stances and ideals. Complaining that a pretty hard line against closed, proprietary software might hurt the feelings of the sponsors just shouts that all bets are off, the doors are being swung wide open, and corporate interests are being put ahead of Freedom and the overall community. Yes, the Foundation needs money to operate, granted, but at what cost? Should it bend to the will of the sponsors to the point it loses its identity in the process of kowtowing?

    • Software Freedom

      We, free (libre, as in freedom) software users are used to prefer open source software over closed source, and I think it’s great, I’m not going to discuss about that now though, there’s plenty of literature about that. My concern today is about distributed services (some people call it the cloud if you wish).

      [...]

      I think the inflection here comes to the “Am I capable to install that service on my own server?”. If we have an alternative, it’s just our choice to be using the distributed service or not. I think we don’t want to introduce people to closed source software just because it’s easy. Do we?

  • Openness

    • FDIC sends a big F-U: completely blacked out documents in response to WaMu takeover freedom of information requests

      Tim Ellis sez, “Completely inexcusable ‘transparency’ from the FDIC, releasing hundreds of totally blacked-out docs in response to a Freedom of Information Act request about the closure of Washington Mutual. ‘An unprecedented level of openness in Government’ indeed.”

    • #diwd New York State Senate: New Regime, New Web Mandate

      His new mandate was made clear. The previous majority leader was under charges for corruption. Those now in power wanted to achieve the following:

      * Transparency: Create a more transparent legislature
      * Efficiency: Enable Members to serve constituents in a more effective and efficient manner, at a lower cost to taxpayers
      * Participation: Provide New Yorkers with the means to take a more participatory role in their state government
      * Model: To model “best technology practices” for legislative bodies throughout the US

Leftovers

  • MP3 players face noise limits recommended by EU

    The European Commission is calling for a suggested maximum volume to be set on MP3 players, to protect users’ hearing.

    The commission wants all MP3 players sold in the EU, including iPods, to share the same volume limits.

  • ID Thief Tries to Get Witnesses Whacked

    Pavel Valkovich of Sherman Oaks, CA has pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder, admitting that he attempted to hire hitmen to kill witnesses working with Federal authorities in their investigation of Valkovich’s ID theft activities and subsequent crimes.

  • Fugitive hides from arrest warrant by working at the DHS

    Tahaya Buchanan, an American fugitive who’d been on the run for more than two years, dodging a national arrest warrant for insurance fraud, has spent her years underground gainfully employed by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Environment

    • Copenhagen climate summit negotiations ‘suspended’

      Negotiations at the UN climate summit have been suspended after developing countries withdrew their co-operation.

      Delegations were angry at what they saw as moves by the Danish host government to sideline talks on more emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

      As news spread around the conference centre, activists chanted “We stand with Africa – Kyoto targets now”.

    • Copenhagen talks stalled by green puppeteers

      International climate negotiations in Copenhagen were reportedly stalled today, as delegates from developing nations – some working hand-in-glove with Western environmental activists – expressed their objections to rumoured plans by rich nations to replace the established Kyoto Protocol with a new framework.

      The BBC reports that the so-called G77-China bloc, composed of 130 mostly poor nations, has “suspended cooperation” with the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, aka COP15.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • ‘Twilight: New Moon’ piracy case dismissed

      The research has therefore indicated that at least two of the three major ISPs perform manipulation on traffic, and especially peer-to-peer traffic. Deep packet inspection and P2P-caching is performed by at least one ISP and that another one probably operates some kind of preference on specific ports.

    • Israeli internet service providers block P2P traffic

      First of its kind research conducted by Ynet in collaboration with surfers, bloggers suggests two of Israel’s largest internet service providers perform manipulation on file sharing traffic

      [...]

      The research has therefore indicated that at least two of the three major ISPs perform manipulation on traffic, and especially peer-to-peer traffic. Deep packet inspection and P2P-caching is performed by at least one ISP and that another one probably operates some kind of preference on specific ports.

    • MySpace/Imeem Deal Leaves Thousands of Artists Unpaid

      Possibly the last band to be paid by imeem for music sold through a Snocap store embedded on MySpace was Javelin, which happens to be my brother’s and cousin’s band. After they inquired about money listed as owed in its online account, imeem sent them a check for about $400 for approximately a year and a half of sales.

Linux on Netbooks at the Netbook World Summit in Paris

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