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Links 1/1/2010: Many New GNU/Linux Releases, Ubuntu Tweak 0.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell happy year

GNOME bluefish



  • A standard Windows desktop is useless

    I type, LyX does the layout. Creating a PDF is painless. With eLyXer HTML creation is easy – and boy, does it look good. With LaTeX2RTF I can create those @#$% Word documents the whole world seems to be craving for. I written my entire 4tH manual with LyX, which is over 450 densely written letter-size pages – with graphics. No problem. Making references, bibliographies or a simple table of contents, it’s just a few quick clicks away. I fire LyX up, adjust the document properties and I’m away. I type the title, my name, indicate this is the “title” and “author” and begin my first section. Highlight the section title, indicate this is a “section” and off we go. That’s how you produce content. Needless to say that once you’ve put an image somewhere that it doesn’t move anymore – and certainly isn’t overlaid.

  • The Linux Commercial Contest

    Post a link to that video in the Comments section below this post.

    The deadline is January 10, 2010 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time. You can post your entries after that time but they won’t be considered for the contest.

    I will announce the winners via a post here on Daniweb on January 15, 2010.

    There will be three winners: First, Second and Third place.

    Winners will receive fame and possibly some higher form of recognition. I’ll work on that part.

    Winners will be judged on the following criteria:
    1. Originality
    2. Number YouTube views
    3. Commercial Appeal

    Good luck and get creative.

  • IT Experts: Our Top Tech Resolutions for 2009

    If you’re not going to stick with Windows, then jump ship in 2009 — after all, it’s now clear that Windows 7 won’t be a brand-new OS but simply a better Vista, so what are you waiting for? Plus, the next Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, will also be a continuation of the current OS, so there’s no reason to delay your journey down that path. Linux’s stability also argues for not waiting.

  • Applications

    • Trying Out Single Window Mode on GIMP 2.7

      Once you run GIMP 2.7, you’ll notice that it will start up in the traditional multi-window interface. To switch to the single-window interface, go to the “Windows” menu and toggle “Single-window mode”.

      Now that GIMP has the window mode of your choice, I hope the multi-window zealots and the single-window lovers can both rejoice about the wonderful, yet underrated program we know as GIMP.

    • A Look Back At Docky in 2009

      As with a few other of my favourite Linux applications, Docky has an incredibly insightful and focused team who hare a passion for making Docky awesome – as proven by its breathtakingly fast development speed!

    • Some GNOME Activity Journal (GNOME Zeitgeist) Screenshots

      So after some cleanup we decided to upload these pics before new years starts. Development is going very fast thanks to the Zeitgeist Framework 0.3 series. This is not our final design and there are ofcourse some usability flaws. We welcome critics, praises and suggestions.

    • Learning is Childsplay

      I spent some time looking at Childsplay and if you have small children, I think you should too. As soon as I started the program, it started to play it’s theme song and my 18 month old son came running, and he still comes running every time he hears that music. For most parents and educators, my review of this program could end right here, but I suspect that I should probably write a bit more.

    • Android apps: Six of the best


      Astrid is a to-do list manager on steroids. Astrid can be used to create tasks with notes, deadlines, reminders tags and priorities. Input is straightforward and reminders can be set in any form. Astrid can also sync with online site Rememberthemilk.com and prompts you with human-like reminders at regular intervals: “Let’s get this done”. Tasks can also record time spent on each of them so Astrid also acts like a time-logger for billing hours. If you have stuff to do then Astrid is the best at keeping you organised.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • 3 Wonderful Open-Source Games to Install After Installing Ubuntu

        Wesnoth 1.6.5

        Scripting is handled in Wesnoth by WML, the Wesnoth Markup Language, which allows for building entire scenarios and campaigns.

        Wesnoth is in a continuous change, with every new release bringing more features and gameplay innovation. The current stable release is 1.6.5, but soon 1.8 will be out, and it will include new unit portraits, WML (Wesnoth Markup Language) improvements, updated campaigns and more. 1.8 will also allow the user to directly upload user-made campaigns and scenario from in-game add-ons menu.

  • Distributions

    • Getting Started with Arch Linux

      It’s hard to come up with an opinion about Arch, since Arch is what you make of it. I like that it gives so much control to the user when it comes to system configuration, but at times it feels like a little too much control. There are a few things that make you think “come on, does this HAVE to be manual?” but the developers are clearly just trying to follow the Arch philosophy of giving the user all the control. In particular, it would be nice to have tools like hwd and aurbuild as part of the system, or at least available for installation through pacman. That may happen at some point as packages in AUR have a chance to be worked into the community repo eventually. Overall I think I like Arch and pacman, and I can see how it would make a great choice for systems that should be kept fast and clean.

    • New Releases

    • Mandriva

      • Noteworthy changes 21 december – 31 december 2009

        In spite of the holiday season, lots of new packages continue to trickle in Mandriva Cooker. Amongst the many updates, here is an overview of some important changes:

        * GNOME is now updated toversion 2.29.4: The most important changes are in Nautilus. In preparation of GNOME 3.0, where Nautilus will purely be a file browser and won’t provide the desktop anymore, the file management part has been improved a lot. Upstream is now using browser mode by default (this was already the case in Mandriva) and made several UI improvements for it. The developers have added now an optional split view like Midnight Commander. Another useful change is that it’s now possible in GNOME to configure a background per monitor on a multi-monitor setup in GNOME. Also worth mentioning is the fast progress the Tracker document search engine is making since some time. I would recommend removing Beagle from your Cooker system, and switching to Tracker instead. Then by clicking on the Search button in Nautilus’ toolbar, you can easily search your files.
        * KDE has been updated to the latest beta, which is version 4.4 beta 2.

    • Ubuntu Tweak

      • Ubuntu Tweak Gets New User-based Website, New Release

        Today should also see the release of Ubuntu 0.5.0 which sports a slightly-rejigged interface and several new features – not least of which being the integration of UTCOM application database.

      • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5: An Early Look

        Ubuntu Tweak 0.5 will come with a redesigned UI (but version 0.6 will suffer major UI changes), XFCE specific features and most importantly: the ability to fetch online database to keep the ppplication information up-to-date. That means that you will be able to keep your applications and sources up-to-date without updating Ubuntu Tweak.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ask a Geek: Home servers, and why you need one

      The final solution that I can present is to use a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu Server (http://ubuntu.com). There are a great many tutorials throughout the Internet that will walk you through setting up Ubuntu as a server, and more specifically as a home server. Please know that this column lists solutions from least to most complicated, and Ubuntu will be the hardest setup of the solutions presented. At the same time, Ubuntu will also provide you with the most flexibility to do whatever you want with your own machine for little to no cost.

    • Tri-OS SmartQ V5 MID goes on sale in China

      The company does reveal, however, that the device is powered by a 600MHz ARM11 CPU which can be overclocked to 800MHz thanks to a firmware update. Most interestingly, the V5 ships with Android, Ubuntu Linux and Windows CE 6.0 preloaded.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Spoiled Brats
  • BSD

    • Letter from the President

      In 2009, the FreeBSD project had the misfortune of losing two long time contributors: John Birrell and Jean-Marc Zucconi. I chatted with John recently, during this year’s BSDCAN, so his death was all the more shocking. It forced me to recognize my own mortality and to consider what contributions from our lives remain after we pass away. Reviewing the heritage of FreeBSD it becomes clear that our work on this project takes on a life of its own. John and Jean-Marc’s efforts live on in FreeBSD.

    • The Great Fallacy of BSD Unix vs. Linux

      “Linux is just a kernel.” It’s a commonly heard refrain amongst the arguments put forward by BSD Unix aficionados, and it is a true statement, but it is all too often abused to try to make a fallacious point.

  • Programming

    • Release Early, Release Often, Adopt Slowly

      The Mozilla folks can push people to upgrade to the next release Firefox in droves because it’s relatively easy to upgrade to the latest Firefox, and they have mechanisms in place to make that easy. But one shouldn’t expect that all technology adoption is going to happen at the same clip. Moving to a new OS or a new version of PostgreSQL or Python requires a lot of moving bits to be aligned correctly.


  • 10 Historic Events Then and Now
  • South Korea Closes Flash Memory Antitrust Investigation

    South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has closed an antitrust investigation of the flash memory industry, concluding that there is no evidence of a pricing cartel.

  • Fallon’s Getting a Dell!

    Fallon would probably have preferred the more colorful Mini9 but he got the Vostro, instead, because I was able to buy a new one from Dell for $199 with free shipping.
    Heck of a deal.


    The Dell people have been uniformly helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind.

  • Dell crowned Bad Santa computer maker by angry customers

    Dell customers are furious at the computer maker after it failed to deliver products in time for the holiday season, and instead offered a “Holiday Card” to place under their Christmas trees to replace undelivered gifts.

  • DVD Is Dead

    The movie studio fantasy was that we’d pay $20-$40 per Blu-Ray disk, but then Daddy was laid-off and that Blu-Ray copy of 8 Mile suddenly wasn’t THAT much better than the DVD version for half the price. Some people decided to wait while others gave up completely, leading to that $68 Blu-Ray player down at WalMart. Remember WalMart is the largest seller of DVD’s (and presumably Blu-Ray disks) in America and possibly the world. WalMart is such a Big Kahuna in the home video business that they can dictate prices pretty much to the rest of the market. I predict, therefore, that after Christmas Blu-Ray prices will crash to only marginally more than DVDs and maybe even the same.

  • Tories swallow Web 2.0, spit out £1m crowdsource prize

    The Tories are waving a £1m taxpayer-funded crowdsourcing prize under the noses of developers to produce a website that can “harness the wisdom” of voters to “resolve difficult policy challenges”.

  • Security

    • TSA Subpoenas Bloggers, Demands Names of Sources

      As the government reviews how an alleged terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a U.S.-bound plane and try to blow it up on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

      TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.

    • US feds squeeze bloggers for posting TSA orders

      At least two bloggers who posted the latest Transportation Security Administration security guidelines have received visits from the feds. One had his laptop confiscated and was served a subpoena. The other just received the subpoena.

      In case you’ve been recovering from a massive holiday bender and haven’t viewed the news recently, on Christmas day a singularly inefficient Nigerian doofus attempted to blow up an airliner by setting his underpants on fire.

    • TSA To Save Print Media? No Electronics On International Flights? What A Joke.

      Obviously, this is all in reaction to the Nigerian man who attempted to bring down a plane coming into the U.S. And the TSA is going to do whatever it thinks is necessary to prevent further attacks of a similar nature. But the simple fact is that if the TSA was really this seriously worried about electronic devices, they could have banned them anytime since the attacks on September 11, 2001. Instead, they’re doing it more than 8 years later after a man apparently lit some sort of mixture of powder and liquid in his lap. How that relates to electronics, I’m not sure. This just reeks of a “well, we have to do something” move.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Despite Awful Customer Service, Woman Felt Forced To Buy Another Sony eBook Reader… Thanks To DRM

      After all of this, she went out and bought another Sony ebook reader. She noted that she would have gladly purchased a competing product “but would have lost access to the library she’s spent hundreds of dollars building up.” And there it is. The DRM tax at work creating serious lock-in and consumer problems. At least in this case, due to the publicity from Consumerist, Sony agreed to reimburse the woman, but you shouldn’t have to get a major publication to tell your story first to get that kind of resolution.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Netflix Trying to Make Peace with Wary Studios for More Streaming Content

      Things are looking tough for Netflix. The online rental service is trying to convince Hollywood studios to sell them the rights to more video content for their “Watch Instantly” streaming offering, but many studios still seem to be mad about Netflix’s deal with Starz last year. The Starz deal, which in one fell swoop added around 2,500 titles for streaming, allowed Netflix to gain access to newer Disney and Sony movies without asking for permission from the studios.

    • Author Robin Sloan Offers Up Money To Fans For Good Remix Ideas

      It’s yet another cool way of connecting with fans, and going explicitly against what copyright allows. It’s explicitly encouraging people to copy his work and even offering money to them if they do a good job.

    • Songwriter Sues Eddie Vedder for Changing ‘Hard Sun’ Lyrics

      Peterson is now suing Vedder and has filed papers in New York’s Manhattan federal court. The suit states, “Vedder altered certain key lyrics of ‘Hard Sun’… eroding the integrity of the composition.” Executives at Universal Music are also targeted in the lawsuit after allegedly licensing the track without his permission.

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