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Links 2/1/2010: KDE’s Usability Goals, Pardus Praised

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • And now for 2010

    6. Linux Mint goes upscale: Having gotten tired of the minty freshness and looking to appeal to more cosmopolitan tastes, Linux Mint will change over the course of the year to something a little more contemporary. It becomes Linux Merlot, with a bouquet that resonates from the north side of the vineyard slope. The distro will go a lot better with most cheeses.

    5. Also, Linux Mint forks into a smaller distro: Linux Mint developers who don’t drink wine, or anything else alcoholic, will fork the distro and make a version that will only run on thin clients, making it . . . say it with me . . . Linux Thin Mint. Monty Python fans continue to roll on the floor at the mere reference.

  • Linux Tech Talk 3

    For quite awhile, I’ve been wanting to install Debian onto my second PC, but I didn’t want to have to “start from scratch” and tweak and configure everything on it. What I really wanted to do was to use rsync to copy the files in debian1’s / and /home partitions onto partitions on debian2, and see if debian2 would boot up and run, already configured the same way as debian1. I was concerned that it might not work, because debian1 and debian2 use different monitor resolutions and completely different CPUs — although I was pretty confident that the different CPUs would not cause a problem because they can both use the type of linux kernel (686) that is already installed on debian1.

  • Linux Gazette – January 2010 (#170)
  • Linux In A Nutshell – Sixth Edition

    The book begins with some simple ideas about the operating system and then leads through the System and Network Administration overview through boot methods and package management to the Bash shell and pattern matching. The latter is something that is an invaluable source of facts for the first time and experienced user. The section on the use of variuos editors is also useful as is the later part of the book which shows CVS and Git management. If you would like to get hold of something tasty in a nutshell rather than talking to the nut the down corridor this book could be for you.

  • Switching to Linux with Puppy

    If you would like to be sure that you are doing online banking from a clean system, just run your operating system of choice (Windows/Linux/Mac) everyday and boot from the Puppy CD before going to your banking site. This is a great way to prevent malware keyloggers from stealing your banking credentials.

  • Samsung NC10 – a pleasant Ubuntu experience

    Anyway, how does it fair with Ubuntu?

    I used an Ubuntu 9.10 live USB session to see what was working. I was pleased to discover that it appears to be everything. Wireless, bluetooth, correct resolution, touch pad and keyboard. Battery life is not noticeably different to Windows either.

  • A Tale of Two Cultures

    There are fundamental differences between people who use GNU/Linux and those who use that other OS. The former rarely worry about the speed of their systems. The latter have DRM, malware, WGdisA and bloat constantly in their face.


    All these blessing are ours out of the box when we use GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. For purposes of education, we will have a system that the school controls, not some corporate monopoly. We will have a system that works for us and our students, not against us.

  • End of the year, a decade and an era.

    Over time I could tell that my message of Linux and Free Software was beginning to put a strain on Digital’s management, since one of Digital’s biggest “partners” was Microsoft, so in 1999 I was offered the opportunity to “do Linux full time”, and I accepted, leaving Digital and my “six figure salary.”

    In many ways the ten years since 1999 have been some of the best in my entire life. I have met and talked with many amazing and passionate people. While I had traveled to many counties as part of Digital’s Unix group (both as a trainer and as a marketing person), I often talked only to managers and large groups of people in conferences and conventions.

  • Server

    • Convert Your Old Computer to a Linux Server

      Linux is a very popular platform. Not just because it is free but also because it is reliable and supports anything you can imagine. A popular setup is a Linux server without any graphical user interface. It can be used for web hosting, as a file server, as a database server, or for anything you need. Most people comfortable with Windows operating system are afraid to start thinking in a different way. In fact, installing and using Linux is pretty simple.

  • Kernel Space

    • One Month Of Monitoring The Linux Kernel Performance

      The Linux kernel benchmarks for the past month illustrate many different performance regressions, some of which are bad but others are actually improvements introduced into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. With the EXT4 file-system in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel it represents yet more performance drops, as can be seen from the SQLite numbers, for example.

    • Pull Request Goes In For X’s udev Input Handling

      A month ago we reported on news regarding the X.Org plans to move away from HAL considering the FreeDesktop.org Hardware Abstraction Layer project is no longer being developed. Since then patches have emerged to support a xorg.conf.d directory for storing some device-specific options and some new xorg.conf configuration options have emerged for filling in some of the gaps previously covered by HAL.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE Usability Goals for 2010

      This past Fall semester was pretty busy with the wedding, full-course load, and travel. I didn’t have an opportunity to work on KDE as much as I would like and spent most of my time on board duties and conference planning rather than on the Usability project. Now that my coursework is completed and I’m preparing for Comprehensive Exams, I will have more time this semester to work on the KDE Usability project. Some of the things I would like to get done in the next few months include:

      Continue work on Notifications

      Last year I began researching desktop notifications as a way to bridge design ideas coming from Canonical’s Ayatana design team with work that was being done in KDE.

  • Distributions

    • Pardus Linux – An open-source Janissary

      Pardus is a really nice distro. I’m surprised it does not have a bigger user base. But it kind of figures out. Few people have heard of Pardus or had the chance to try it and find out just how great it is, myself included. But now that I’ve been exposed to its goodies, it’s time to spread the word.

      Pardus wins you over by many great features, starting with a very soft, pleasant installation, followed by a smooth, streamlined desktop setup. Then, you get lots of great programs, cross-platform productivity out of the box, great looks, good performance and solid stability, and a whole lot of tiny details that you don’t normally encounter.

      Pardus is truly a unique, refreshing change from the daily routine. The only bad thing I could find was proxy support and nothing else. It behaved phenomenally.

      Well, I am genuinely pleased. I warmly recommend you try Pardus and see for yourself. It’s a small distro, so you might not be tempted. But don’t let this distract you. In the worst case, you won’t be won over and you won’t be using it, but I doubt that. If you’re a home user in search after a decent distribution that offers everything, you’re in no mood for command line hacks and you just want to enjoy your desktop out of box, browse, chat with friends or listen to music, Pardus is a great choice.

      This Turkish distro is a very smart solution. The best thing you can do is help it grow bigger and gain more popularity. Sometimes, all it takes for a talent to break through is the critical mass of believers. Currently, Pardus is ranked #37 on DistroWatch and it definitely deserves better than that.

      Speaking of DistroWatch, you may want to read the review thither. Like most reviews of Pardus 2009, it speaks highly of the distribution. Many good points and some small problematic details I’ve not observed, definitely worth checking out.

      Thank you all who suggested Pardus. It’s really great!

    • New Releases

      • blackPanther OS 10.1
      • Zorin OS 2.0 video released

        If you’re interested in Zorin OS 2.0 then you’ll be interested to see the first video of it. Head over to the Videos page on this site view it.

        Also as a quick reminder, Zorin OS 2.0 will be availible on the 1st of January, that’s less than a week!

    • Debian Family

      • Full Circle Magazin – Issue 32

        This month:

        * Command and Conquer.
        * How-To: Program in Python – Part 6, The Perfect Server – Part 2, Installing Chromium (browser) and Offline Package Install.
        * My Story – Classroom Experiences, and How I Became An Ubuntu Woman.
        * My Opinion – Time To Review The Release Schedule? and Will Linux Ever Get It Right?
        * Review – Music Player Daemon.
        * MOTU Interview – Roderick Greening.
        * Top 5 – Media Centers.
        * Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games and all the usual goodness!

      • Goodbye to the GIMP

        It’s a sad time for Ubuntu users. Canonical has announced that it is removing the GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka GIMP, from the default Ubuntu installation routine.


        When I write Linux reviews for my blog, I always harp on distros that don’t include GIMP as part of the default install routine. Without it, there usually isn’t much included in the way of image editing tools, and I consider that category of application to be very important to most desktop Linux users.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Days
  • What can open source do next decade?

    I may be wrong, but I don’t buy this. I think it’s software, not the Internet, that has to change. I think either Microsoft solves the problem or open source will solve it and eliminate the need for Microsoft. This tension will be one of the decade’s biggest stories.

  • Audio

  • Databases

    • Our Favourite Database Management System, MySQL

      This is quite odd. MySQL is FLOSS so it can be forked and MW has done that. What is his problem? Does he want to sell something and then kill its value? Is he trying to keep open a window of opportunity for his new fork to grow? That’s OK but why cause FUD in the huge universe of users of MySQL?

  • Licensing

    • Plagiarism and the Creative Commons license

      The bottom line is that this guy tried to pass off my work as his, got caught, lied himself into a corner, then tried to bluff his way out. Didn’t work. I’m not surprised at how it went down, in retrospect; after reading some of the things in his online profile, I should have known this was not a man who would ever admit a mistake even if he was walking around with a bucket of shit stuck on his foot. I’ll admit to one, though: it was a mistake for me to offer a compromise. To someone like that, a compromise offer is seen as admission of weakness.

  • Programming

    • Python wanderings, part two

      Pulling in external dependencies is a big deal for us – many of our users are on Ubuntu or similar desktops with lots of python packages already installed, but some are not using GNOME or a Linux desktop at all, so we have to be sure that we need a library before we depend on it.

      After playing a little with both of the options I came to the conclusion that while they are both really well made and capable, they are far more formal than we need, and the added dependency issues continued to concern me.


  • How Digitized Content Democratizes Knowledge

    Imagine my surprise this week when I learned that National Geographic is selling digital versions of every copy of National Geographic published since 1888 on DVD for $70 . No, there are no typos here. They’ll sell you 120 years of brilliant photography, insight and commentary about our world for essentially the price of taking your family to see “Avatar.” For $200, they’ll even send you the lot on a 160GB hard drive.

  • Finance

    • The banks are still avoiding reform and the public is paying

      As we all know, the public is angry about the big Wall Street bank bailout and they have reason to be. Peter Goodman writes a “fair and balanced” piece quoting both critics and the banks on the government program to protect homeowners from foreclosure that is offering some palliatives but really only delaying the inevitable loss link here. At the same time, the banks seem to be making out very well. Goodman suggests with a few examples, that they are exploiting their superior bargaining position and knowledge to maximize their return.

      The public is paying the banks in ways most people don’t realize. They are of course aware that the government–i.e., the taxpayer–is on the hook for the direct payouts which must ultimately be covered by taxes.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • WikiLeakS.org applies for $532,000 funding from the Knight Foundation – for “local news” whistleblower leaks ?

      WikiLeakS.org has applied for a grant from the Knight Foundation a charitable foundation financed from the former Knight-Ridder US newspaper conglomerate.

      Do not confuse this with the recently revived 1980′s fictional Knight Rider TV series featuring a supposedly artificially intelligent car, which starred David Hasselhoff.

    • And the draft of the ACTA reply to me in English

      So here is a Council draft document in English to the reply to my secondary request for document access related to an ACTA criminal provisions document.

    • ACTA secondary application answered

      Formally, I could go to Court now or invoke the ombudsman.

    • TSA Withdraws Subpoenas Against Bloggers

      In the wake of public outcry against the Transportation Security Administration for serving civil subpoenas on two bloggers, the government agency has canceled the legal action and apologized for the strong-arm tactics agents used.

      Travel writer and photographer Steven Frischling, who was served with a subpoena by two TSA agents on Tuesday, told Threat Level that he received a phone call Thursday evening from John Drennan, deputy chief counsel for enforcement at TSA, telling him the administration was withdrawing its subpoena.

    • President Obama, It’s Time To Fire the TSA

      Today, DHS’s Napolitano’s response to the crotchbomber: “We’re looking to make sure that this sort of incident cannot recur.” But the TSA’s response to Abdulmutalib’s attempt makes one thing clear: We must stop pretending the TSA is making us safer.

      Security expert Bruce Schneier nails the core incompetency: “For years I’ve been saying ‘Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.’”

      So what has the TSA done in response to the attempted attack? They’ve told airlines to make passengers stay in their seats during the last hour of flight. They’ve made it verboten for passengers to hold anything in their laps, again only during the last hour of flight. Perhaps most hilariously telling, they’ve forbidden pilots from announcing when a plane is flying over certain cities and landmarks.

    • Long arm of law reaches into World of Warcraft

      The virtual world of online gaming seems like the perfect place to hide. There is plenty of anonymity, and it’s almost impossible for someone to trace activity back to its source, right? Wrong.

      Two weeks ago, Howard County Sheriff’s Department deputy Matt Roberson tracked down a wanted fugitive through one of the most popular games on the Internet — World of Warcraft. And he got his man.

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