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Links 23/12/2009: OLPC XO 3.0 Concept Surfaces

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • New Decade Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Tarballs

    Most of the business growth and business start-ups will leverage Linux and other so-called open source software projects. This time, though, “dot com” businesses will start and thrive in non-Silicon Valley locations providing a more widespread recovery to historically non-technical regions. Technical folk who’ve made the exodus from high cost, high tech areas of the country will spring up in lower cost locations to capitalize on their newfound frugality.

  • AARNet completes major upgrade to mirror [note: it is not "public domain Unix"]

    According to Steve Maddox, director of operations at AARNet, the mirror contains “most of the major public domain Unix software” available, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian and FreeBSD. The mirror automatically downloads all updates to these systems – such that when systems within Australia’s academic community download an update, they download it from a local source.

  • Kernel Space

    • Staging tree status for the .33 kernel merge

      This was originally sent to the linux-kernel and driver-devel mailing lists. Might as well post it here to get a wider audience as the last report was received well.

      Here’s a summary of the state of the drivers/staging/ tree, basically what will be coming in the 2.6.33 merge, and what the status of the different drivers are so far.

  • LCA

    • LCA 2010: Getting up close and personal with the Arduino

      When Jonathan Oxer turns up at Australia’s national Linux conference, you can be sure that he’ll have an interesting idea, either to talk about or else to demonstrate.


      Oxer, who looks a bit different these days after shedding his locks for a good cause, will be conducting a mini-conference, a one-day workshop, on the Arduino .

    • LCA 2010: Guiding little ones down the FOSS path

      He’s probably New Zealand’s best-known FOSS figure today but modestly attributes his achievements to seizing opportunities that came his way and, occasionally, creating one or two of his own.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Christmas Special

        · Announced Distro: Download Linux Mint 8 for 64-Bit Platforms
        · Announced Distro: Second Beta of SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Brings KDE SC 4.3.4
        · Announced Distro: Available Now: Tiny Core Linux 2.7
        · Announced Distro: Parted Magic 4.7 Is Powered by Linux Kernel

      • The Straw That Broke The Penguin’s Hat

        I’m going to create my own distro.

        Those who favour “convenience” and “simplicity” over security and Freedom, need not apply.

        Like nearly every other distro out there, mine will be initially based off another. In this case, I’m going to start with the source RPMS from Fedora 12, rebuilt to be i386 compatible, and then it’ll slowly diverge from there. Ultimately it will use Alexandre Oliva’s linux-libre, the blob-free version of Linux, with the longer-term goal of possibly even moving to the GNU Hurd, at which point I’ll take great pleasure it telling Linus “Microsoft hatred is a disease” Torvalds where to shove “his” kernel, along with those other things he endorses, like Tivoization. It’ll have a strict “No Microsoft” policy, both in terms of the actual technology, and the paradigms which define the operating system and software.

        Other features which will be depreciated include SELinux and PulseAudio, the bane of nearly every Fedora user’s existence. These technologies are “solutions” to entirely fictitious problems, and the former in particular is closely related to the same issues surrounding the PackageKit scandal. If unprivileged users are never given elevated privileges in the first place, then there simply isn’t any need for mandatory access controls – standard UNIX security methods are sufficient.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Profits remain strong at Red Hat

        Results that would make other companies go ho-ho-ho have become ho-hum for Linux software company Red Hat, which on Tuesday posted the latest in a string of strong quarterly results.

        The Raleigh-based company, which performed well even when the recession was at its worst, once again exceeded analysts’ expectations for both the top line and the bottom line – revenue and profits.

        Investors responded positively to the results, which were released after the markets closed. Red Hat shares rose as much as 7percent in after-hours trading.

      • Red Hat has a jolly Q3

        Commercial Linux distributor and platform wannabe Red Hat ended the year with a peachy quarter. For the third quarter of fiscal 2010, ended November 30, sales jumped 17.5 per cent to $194.3m.

      • Red Hat Chief Says Demand for Company’s Software Is Rebounding

        Red Hat Inc., the Linux software maker whose sales and profit in the latest quarter exceeded analysts’ estimates, said demand for its products is reviving, especially in North America.

      • Subscriptions Boost Red Hat Revenue
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical’s opportunity to simplify Ubuntu

        Red Hat is instructive. Though many of us would like to see it broaden its focus, the company remains rooted in the enterprise server and middleware markets. Canonical, in my view, should take a lesson from Red Hat and channel some of its energy into fewer markets, markets where it can thrive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MicroNet Expands MaxNAS Product Line with Rackmount Units

      The MaxNAS devices give users the option to configure the storage systems with Linux-based ext3 file system or ZFS file systems based on their individual requirements.

    • Fuji Soft humanoid robot

      Fuji Soft has just introduced its first commercial bipedal humanoid robot that will see its official name and price unveiled early next year. For those who have tight purse strings, fret not – Fuji Soft maintains that their robot will be highly affordable.

    • Phones

      • Nokia N900 in Review: Maemo 5 comes alive!

        What can we say about the Nokia N900, it is easily the most anticipated Nokia handset in quite some time. The Nokia N900 came out, officially, last week – November 2009 – and has so far been widely received as one of ‘The’ devices of 2009. Obviously, we’ve been covering the Nokia N900 extensively since we first got wind of it at Nokia World 2009 – and rightly so, it is one hell of a device, and completely different direction for Nokia. Read on after the jump to find out more about the device, its capabilities, and why it was so highly anticipated.

      • Nokia N900: Powerful, but Missing Some Key Features

        The Nokia N900 is a powerful smartphone with many options for customization and tinkering. It has a superb browser, and the multimedia features are hard to beat. The user interface, however, can be frustrating to navigate, and consumers who are used to their smartphone’s interface coming in a friendly, pretty package will likely be turned off by the N900. If you’re looking for something a little more intuitive but still customizable, check out the HTC Hero or even the Motorola Droid.

      • Updating N900’s Firmware on Linux
    • Android

      • Best Mobile Innovations of 2009

        Google unleashed its mobile OS Android in full force this year. The open source operating system, which runs on a Linux kernal, has gone on to power devices such as the HTC Hero and the Motorola Droid. The beauty of Android is that it is open source, meaning its literally a pleasure for developers to work with, and isn’t tied to anyone device in particular – essentially, any mobile phone manufacturer can pick it up and use it to its full potential.

      • Would Android Tablets bombard the enterprise space?

        Android is an open source mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel. Various Smartphones based on the platform is already available in the market like HTC G1, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy, GW620 Eve, etc. However, the Android platform still has a long way to cover in the tablet segment. Meanwhile, various PC vendors like Dell, Archos, and IDC are preparing to launch their tablet PCs based on the operating system.


        Various other companies like GiiNii, Camangi, NEC, Moto, etc are also working on the Android-based tablets. The new tablets can differ in sizes, which will resemble iPod touch or MIDs available in the market. However, the success of these devices will depend on the prices, overall functionality and the consumers’ willingness to carry a connected device in addition to mobile phone.

        It is assumed that the devices will have Google Talk, which replaces cellular connectivity. Hence, VoIP and other Google support could make a difference for the Android-based tablets.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC teases $75 tablet features, images [U]

        The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project today provided a deeper glimpse into its XO-3 tablet, including concept shots and more features. The roughly letter-sized computer will now hopefully include a camera on the back to record video in a more intuitive way than the XO-1. The developers also clarify that founder Nicholas Negroponte’s desire for “no holes” would involve wireless power.

      • OLPC shows off tablet XO 3.0 concept

        Along with announcing two other new models, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has shown off its latest concept – with a tablet style approaching its previous vision of a dual screen book laptop.

Free Software/Open Source

  • International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) Open Sources Health Terminology Workbench

    “Open sourcing the IHTSDO Workbench will make it easier for developers from around the world to work together to further develop these tools,” said John Gutai, IHTSDO’s chief technical architect. “It also means that organizations and standards bodies from around the world can use the same tools to maintain their own terminologies and coding systems, leveraging the investment that IHTSDO and its Members have made.”

  • Survey Looks at Open Source Data Integration Tools

    This report is a great read for understanding how open source data and BI solutions are being adopted, but it also includes short list of recommendations for those considering open source. I also found the discussion on the difference between “community” and “enterprise” editions helpful in avoiding or at least understanding one of the common gotchas of open source — finding you have to pay if you want to unlock the more useful features.

  • Hail And Farewell, Part Two

    If open source’s collective mission is to change the way software is designed and used, a goal like this would have more genuine benefit than almost anything else I can think of. The real dividing lines would be between what programs are worth using and which ones fall short — not which ones hew to a specific licensing model or were built under the auspices of a given social contract. In many realms, this has already happened: most people don’t care if a given CMS, for instance, is open source or not; they care if it fits their needs as a business. The next step will be to have the software makers themselves reach this stage — where they can consider open vs. non-open without it being a political issue.

    I don’t know if that day will ever come, but it sounds like a pretty good goal to me.

  • ERP in 2009: Looking back, looking ahead

    Free and open-source ERP options proliferate

    Going into 2010, companies have more options than ever for free and open-source ERP software. There are at least 10 open-source products in the market, with some more mature than others.

  • E-Voting in Ghana and the 2012 Elections

    Only a few weeks ago (December 1st 2009), Sequoia Voting Systems became the first major company of its kind (Voting Systems Manufacturers) to publish it’s source code openly for public download and study. You can read the following article for more information (http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/topix/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091201006177&newsLang=en). The move follows an earlier disclosure made by the California based Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (OSDF) which made available the source code of its Prototype Election Software in October 2009 (see: www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/10/open-source/).

  • What a Difference a Year Makes

    2009 Prediction #1: Adoption of open source software will increase as the economy worsens.
    Accuracy: Grade B+

    We can say with some conviction that this indeed was the case in 2009. While we obviously do not have financials for all open source companies we can parse through the data that is available to prove our point.

  • RIA development framework Qooxdoo debuts

    The open source qooxdoo (pronounced “ku:ksdu”) software development framework, which leverages object-oriented JavaScript and enables developers to build rich Internet applications, became available earlier this month in a 1.0 version, developers of the framework said.

  • Technology Vs. Design–What is the Source of Innovation?

    But we don’t have to wait and repeat the past. Thanks to design thinking and new tools and methods in ethnographic research, we now have a new model of innovation that is flat, open-source and dynamic.

  • Google

    • Google’s creed: ‘Open will win’

      “There are forces aligned against the open Internet–governments who control access, companies who fight in their own self-interests to preserve the status quo. They are powerful, and if they succeed we will find ourselves inhabiting an Internet of fragmentation, stagnation, higher prices, and less competition,” Rosenberg wrote.

    • Google’s Open-Source Talk Is Empty Posturing

      Google talks a lot about openness and their commitment to open source software. What they are really doing is practicing a classic business strategy known as “commoditizing the complement“*.

    • Why Google isn’t open about its “openness”

      He also launches a clear attack on Apple, noting the iPod and iPhone range as examples of how closed technology can produce excellent short-term results but soon leads to a firm only being able to make minor improvements rather than an entire industry creating better products.

  • Mozilla

    • App stores will have short day in the sun, says Mozilla

      The Mozilla Foundation claims that Fennec, now officially launched as Firefox Mobile, will sound the deathknell for app stores because its browser-based experience will be so advanced as to make downloads, optimized for smartphones, redundant. The open source organization is releasing Firefox Mobile on Nokia’s new N900, Linux-based superphone, and it will come to Windows Mobile and Android early next year.

  • Databases

    • MySQL 6 Features Roll Into MySQL 5.5 Milestone

      Even with all the drama surrounding Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun and critics’ concerns about its impact on Oracle’s open source database competition, Sun developers are still hard at work on MySQL. One of the fruits of their labors is the recent MySQL 5.5 milestone 2 development release, which introduces many new features to the open source database — some of which were originally intended for MySQL 6.0.

  • Releases

    • Open source media player Songbird 1.4.2 released

      Songbird Logo Six months after the last stable release – version 1.2 (version 3 never got out of beta) the Songbird developers have announced the availability of version 1.4.2 of their popular open source media player. According to a post on the Songbird Blog, the 1.4.2 release, which appeared one day after Songbird 1.4.1, addresses a “UI glitch” bug in the release that “made mashTape and LyricMaster hard to use”. In addition to several bug fixes, the latest stable release of the cross-patform player focuses on improving device and format/codec support.

    • Groovy 1.7 goes final

      The new version includes more support for Java constructs like anonymous inner classes and nested classes, enhancements to annotations, which allow annotations to be added to imports, packages and variable declarations, and a more expressive and readable output from assertions.

  • Licensing

    • Episode 0x1D: GPL Enforcement

      Karen and Bradley discuss enforcement of the GNU General Public License, and in particular the lawsuits recently filed by SFLC against various violators of the GPL.

  • Programming

    • What Should We Teach New Software Developers? Why?

      Computer science must be at the center of software systems development. If it is not, we must rely on individual experience and rules of thumb, ending up with less capable, less reliable systems, developed and maintained at unnecessarily high cost. We need changes in education to allow for improvements of industrial practice.

    • Building a network performance analysis test system with Linux, Tcl/TK, SQL & extremeDB

      The devices underpinning today’s communications networks grow increasingly powerful, in their speed, throughput, features and supported services. That’s great for users – but it presents a significant challenge for manufacturers.

    • PRODUCT HOW-TO: A New Approach to Embedded Linux Development

      The commercial embedded Linux market was created ten years ago when Jim Ready founded MontaVista Software. At the time, skeptics said Linux would never work for embedded development, it lacked key features required for embedded systems, and the performance wasn’t comparable to existing real time operating systems (RTOS).


  • Network effects

    The internet may kill newspapers; but it is not clear if that matters. For society, what matters is that people should have access to news, not that it should be delivered through any particular medium; and, for the consumer, the faster it travels, the better. The telegraph hastened the speed at which news was disseminated. So does the internet. Those in the news business use the new technology at every stage of newsgathering and distribution. A move to electronic distribution—through PCs, mobile phones and e-readers—has started. It seems likely only to accelerate.

    The trouble is that nobody knows how to make money in the new environment. That raises questions about how much news will be gathered. But there is no sign of falling demand for news, and technology has cut the cost of collecting and distributing it, so the supply is likely to increase. The internet is shaking up the news business, as the telegraph did; in the same way, mankind will be better informed about his fellow humans than before. If paper editions die, then Bennett’s prediction that communications technology would be the death of newspapers will be belatedly proved right. But that is not the same as the death of news.

  • 8 Practical Uses for Your Old Laptop

    One sensible use for a last year’s netbook is to turn it into a network-attached storage server. This allows you to store files on the hard drive, assign user groups, and access the drive over your home network. Most of the popular NAS applications — such as Openfiler and Nexenta — provide a few options for how you install the NAS software. You can load it up as a distro that actually takes over the laptop or as a client that runs in Linux or Windows. These open-source tools are similar to Microsoft Home Server and many offer a Web-based console to control the NAS from a remote computer, so once you set up the NAS on your netbook, you can leave it to sit idly next to your router and never have to even open the lid.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • Hackers break Amazon’s Kindle DRM

      The hack began as an open challenge in this (translated) forum for participants to come up with a way to make ebooks published in Amazon’s proprietary format display on competing readers. Eight days later, a user going by the handle Labba had a working program that did just that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 09 (2004)

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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  1. NotZed said,

    December 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm


    The XO 3.0 is another disappointment. Nice device, perhaps a cool e-book reader or teaching *device*. But it has long lost even a veneer of being a LEARNING computer.

    Without a REAL keyboard, the XO is just another device that trains children to be consumers of other people’s content. It cannot be used to create any real content or let children learn how to solve their own problems by programming a computer. This is a necessary and critical requirement in order to capture their own digital destiny.

    I suspect the keyboard is a significant component of price and and a reliability issue, but without it all you have is a souped-up interactive TV.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Remember that OLPC got sued over the use of keyboard (patent), by a former convicted criminal which Groklaw suspected was connected to Microsoft/Intel.

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  3. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

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  4. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

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  9. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

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    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

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    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  15. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

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    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  17. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

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    Links for the day

  19. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

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  21. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

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  23. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  24. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

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  25. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  26. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

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  27. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

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  28. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

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