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01.04.10

Links 4/1/2010: Kahel OS Reviewed, Nexus One is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Karmic Tablets…

    So, for Christmas this year, I was delighted to finally receive a Trust TB 5300 graphics tablet. Even after I asked my parents for this, I wasn’t actually sure I’d be able to use the thing with GNU/Linux. I had visions of having to take a crash course in C and X programming in order to get the thing to work.

    I needn’t have worried – the nice thing about the GNU/Linux world is that its users tend to blog about getting unusual bits and bobs working on the operating system, and this was no exception.

    [...]

    Both Inkscape and The GIMP work fine; even pressure sensitivity functioning as expected. I didn’t even need to callibrate the tablet as it worked fine out of the box.

  • LemonPOS: Linux Point of Sale

    There are two ways to install this tool: Using Synaptic (or yum, or apt-get, or the Ubuntu Software Center) or installing from source. Although installing with a package manager is the easiest method, you will still need to download the source in order to get the database installed. So, let’s do this in two phase: Package manager and source.

    Open up your favorite package manager and do a search for lemonpos. You might notice that two packages come up: LemonPOS and Squeeze. Both of these need to be installed. Squeeze is the LemonPOS manager. Without Squeeze you will not be able to add items to the inventory to be sold. So mark both for installation and apply the changes.

  • The Geek Who Cried FUD

    Finally, early one morning as the geek was getting ready to log off and head to bed, he stumbled across a site where a local school council member had written about getting school children off of the “unstable, unsupported, unworkable and potentially illegal” GNU/Linux systems that had been deployed a year earlier in school computer labs. On further investigation the bleary-eyed geek found that neither students nor teachers had complained about the computers. This was just pure anti-open source FUD.

  • Linux users more experienced with windows.

    From what I understand, the most, if not the major, gripe windows users have with the Linux operating system is that it doesn’t run windows programs. That sort of reasoning is about as powerful as a storm in a teacup. Linux is not a copy of windows and has it’s own comprehensive suite of programs to accomplish all computing tasks.

    This means that when it comes down to a Linux verses windows debate Linux people have the advantage in knowledge and experience. I have never heard of any Linux user with a couple or more years of Linux experience moving over to the windows operating system. I have never heard of a windows user with as much experience in Linux as a Linux user has in windows.

  • Linux is the perfect choice for many people

    As you can see, these are just two examples of how people who wouldn’t normally think that they would have a good use for that “other” operating system, there really are some great “out-of-the-box” uses for Linux besides the everyday use some may find intimidating.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/Window Managers

    • TWM Updated For 2010: X Render Support, Etc

      We are just a few days into 2010, but the standard (basic) window manager for X.Org, TWM, has finally received some updates. TWM has been around for 13 years and under the hands of many developers, but is now receiving some new development love from Eeri Kask. Eeri has been hacking away at TWM for a few years now and has made many improvements already, but this is the first time since September of 2008 that he is announcing some of his new work.

    • ++2009;

      The KOffice team started making releases of the KOffice 2 series which is the first to use the KDE Development Platform 4.x. They began working with Nokia on file format and applications like Krita (natural media painting) and Kexi (database) continue to be the amazing apps they have been while others like Karbon have reached new heights. KOffice still has a ways to go and hopefully they continue to grow the community around it, but 2009 was a milestone year for the project which has been around since the pre-2.x days.

      Another one in the “around forever and now releasing betas for the KDE Dev Platform 4″ category is KDevelop. It will have its stable releases starting in 2010, but it was a huge milestone to get into betas during 2009 and it is shaping up to be a very impressive (and already very usable) IDE with some extremely nifty features, especially in the code completion and discovery areas.

      Digikam for KDE Devel Patform 4.x was also released in 2009 and it was met with glowing reviews. With the KDE Imaging Plugin Interface (KIPI) framework, which has moved closer to the “core” by moving into KDE Graphics to the benefit of applications like Gwenview, Digikam is starting to get the respect it deserves and is rapidly shaping up to be the Amarok for digital photography.

  • Distributions

    • Kahel OS (version 12-25-09) (Gnome)

      I liked Kahel, its derived from a solid distro with a large following (Arch). Kahel is not one of the many generic Ubuntu clones that seem to be flavor of the month at the moment and it makes effort with “the little things” in order to try to give you a unique experience. Kahel has a nice selection of original backdrops and the Kahel logo is wacky, but more importantly memorable.

    • Benchmarks Of The Gentoo-based Sabayon

      The Gentoo-based Sabayon Linux distribution had advantages over Kubuntu particularly when it came to the graphics performance (OpenArena and World of Padman), PostgreSQL, and PostMark while Kubuntu had its advantages in 7-Zip, Apache, LAME MP3, and John The Ripper. In the other tests, the results were very close between Sabayon and Kubuntu with no clear winner.

    • Re: is Foresight Linux dead?

      Then came 2009 and with it the major financial crisis the shook many companies around the world, creating a massive layoff wave for most of the first quarter. Sadly, approximately 75% of the active developers that comprised Foresight’s core developer base were part of the many casualties, including Ken Vandine, the heart and soul of the distribution! By late February these developers had already joined the ranks of companies such as Red Hat and Novell to do package and kernel management. Ken himself was quickly nabbed by Canonical to join their Desktop Experience Team, concluding then the completely dismemberment of the seasoned Foresight team!

    • Arch vs. Slackware, a friendly comparison

      As you might know, there are about a hundred thousand million billion Linux distributions. (For those who don’t know, the “Linux” core is an operating system kernel, and people take it and build collections of software around it called “distributions“, and people install these distributions, and then, in casual conversation, call the distribution “Linux“. All this adds up to confusion for people who don’t already know it all.)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to Partners: Prepare for Hosted Desktop Virtualization

        But Red Hat is in growth mode. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware both generated double-digit growth in 2009 while rival software companies struggled to maintain current revenue levels. It sounds like RHEV is arriving in the right place at the right time…

    • Debian Family

      • When I’m in a squeeze, it’s Debian Squeeze!
      • Ultimate Edition Linux 2.5

        Ultimate Edition 2.5 is based on Ubuntu 9.10 and it weighs in at a chunky 3.1GB. Clearly this is a distro you won’t be able to fit onto a CD. But that’s fine as long as you have a DVD and DVD burner available. This larger size is due to the fact that it comes with a lot of software (more on that in the software section).

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 174

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #174 for the week December 27th – January 2nd, 2010. In this issue we cover: Edubuntu Council Elections Results, Call for votes: Ubuntu Developer Membership Board election, New IRC Council Appointments, Ubuntu User Days Announcement, Ubuntu will be at Anime Boston 2010, 2010 Launchpad Release Calendar, Trying Out Launchpad Translations, The Planet: Amber, Daniel, Matthew, Steven, and Daniel, Full Circle Magazine #32, December Team Reports, and much, much more!

      • How Ubuntu (Linux) Changed My Life

        Ubuntu changed my life! I’m smarter, cooler, and more ethical.

        Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t.

        I began using Linux about 2 years ago. Before that, I was a long time Windows user. (And before that, an Apple user.) Until my Linux days, I was a pretty typical PC user. I would word-process documents, play a few games, and later, check email and surf the net. I really didn’t care about how things worked; I just wanted them to work. And hence, my Windows days were nothing pioneering or interesting.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Verizon Droid vs. Google Nexus One: An Ongoing Comparison

        What are the key differences between the two phones? The Nexus One (which lackgoogle android nexus ones a physical keyboard) is apparently thinner and lighter. It’s supposedly got an OLED screen which is said to be gorgeous. It runs on T-Mobile’s network rather than Verizon’s (it’ll reportedly only work on AT&T in sluggish EDGE mode). And it’s allegedly got a very fast CPU (1-GHz?) and twice the RAM of the Droid. Plus a newer version of Android that’s been further tweaked by Google.

      • Google to launch Nexus One in first foray into smartphones

        For months the technology world has been gossiping about Google’s most closely guarded secret — the arrival of its first very own mobile phone.

        Despite the growing anticipation of a smartphone rumoured to be capable of challenging the iPhone’s market dominance, no previews have been given and leaks about it have been few and far between.

      • Quake Ported to the Palm Pre

        The Pre is a bit short on milestones these days, so I suppose it’s worth noting that a crafty developer has successfully managed to port ID’s classic Quake to Palms flagship phone. The frame rate looks a bit low, and it crashes at the end of the demo, but the developer assures us they have cleared all these issues up since the last video was shot.

Free Software/Open Source

  • CA3DE renamed to CAFU becomes opensource

    All source code has been put under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3). The GPLv3 guarantees that from now on, Cafu is and will always be free software in the spirit of the Free Software Foundation.

  • Free and Open Source Software Feature on VTV (Vietnam)

    I mentioned over a month ago that VTV visited my Linux Lab. A couple weeks ago they aired the 10 minute segment on VTV. I know several of the guys featured on the program including An Nguyen of SaigonLUG and Professor Son from the University of Education. The open source community is starting to grow in Saigon but it still has 5-10 years to mature. It is definitely more active then 5 years ago which is very positive.

  • How Should I Vote in these Awards for Open Source?

    I don’t like awards. They seem pretty pointless both to give and to get. For that reason, I try not to take part as a judge, either. But despite my best efforts, I seem to have been “volunteered” for the “2010 Linux New Media Awards”, something to do with CeBIT Open Source, without being given much choice in the matter. So, I’ve decided to make the best of a bad job by asking Linux Journal readers to help me decide who I should vote for.

    Irrespective of the fact that this is a purely selfish, pragmatic way of dealing with the problem, it also has the merit of making my choices rather more meaningful. After all, there’s no reason why I should know who or what is the “best” for each category, but it’s quite likely that the collective wisdom of the (virtually) assembled Linux Journal readers should have a pretty good idea. Indeed, in my view the organisers of this competition would probably have done rather better asking Linux Journal readers directly, but hey, what do I know?

  • First FOSDEM 2010 Speaker Interviews

    Interviews with four of the speakers at FOSDEM 2010 are now available. FOSDEM will be held February 6-7 in Brussels, Belgium. This round of interviews includes David Fifield (Nmap), Greg Kroah-Hartman (Linux kernel), Richard Clayton (Evil on the internet), and Wim Remes (OSSEC).

  • Spain pays 12m Euros to Telefonica to maintain open source web site

    Who said there isn’t money to be made in open source? The Spanish government has awarded a 12m Euro contract to Telefonica to maintain the Presidential web site, a site that is built on OpenCMS, an open source content management system.

  • CTMS upgrade to aid cancer efforts

    Version 2.0 of the caBIG open-source Clinical Trials Suite bundles patient, adverse-event, and lab data, as well as clinical functionality. CaBIG is the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, an information network of the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology.

  • Openness

    • Public Domain Day: January 1, 2010

      Public Domain Day. January 1st every year. If you live in Europe, January 1st 2010 would be the day when the works of Freud and Yeats and hundreds of other authors ranging from Havelock Ellis to Zane Grey emerge into the public domain — where they are freely available for anyone to use, republish, translate or transform. You could copy the songs and photos, share the movies, make a digital library of the books. Your school could create an interactive volume of Yeats’s poems, or publish that cheap educational edition of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents. You could translate Ellis into French, even make a new film based on Grey’s classic Westerns. Or you could just send a copy to a friend — without asking permission or violating the law.

Leftovers

  • Irish atheists challenge new blasphemy laws

    Secular campaigners in the Irish Republic defied a strict new blasphemy law which came into force today by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations online and promising to fight the legislation in court.

  • Security

    • Pentagon cyber-war plans stalled by US Congress

      PLANS BY THE PENTAGON to gain dominance in cyberspace have been stalled by the US Congress which is a little worried about giving the generals too much power.

      According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon wanted a command to defend its global network of computer systems. Dubbed cyber command the cunning plan was to consolidate existing offensive and defensive capabilities under one roof.

    • Home Office gets DNA database funding priorities wrong

      There’s a wide consensus that adding DNA profiles of crime scenes has a direct impact on detecting crimes. However views differ widely as to what is achieved by retaining the DNA profiles of millions individuals, including that of many innocents, when there’s a lack of evidence demonstrating this helps detect crimes. Hence, it is surprising to learn that while the Home Office is keen to waste money on retention of DNA profiles of millions of individuals, it is to stop funding and put at risk Operation Stealth, a national operation to review unsolved murders. Detectives have had great successes when loading the DNA profiles of such cold cases. Continued funding of Operation Stealth should remain a priority.

    • Why Extending the DNA Database is Dangerous

      The more DNA profiles that are stored on a database, the more likely there will be a match found due to such false positives. And such is the belief in the infallibility of DNA testing – thanks to the impressive-sound “one in 800 billion chance that the DNA belonged to someone other than the accused man” – that it is likely to lead to more *innocent* people being convicted. The best solution is to keep the DNA database small, tight and useful.

    • Home Office still wants your DNA profile, and your PNC record

      After facing opposition from all quarters to its initial plan to establish new rules to regulate the sampling and retention of DNA via secondary legislation, the Home Office belatedly introduced clauses about DNA in the Crime and Security Bill 2009-10. Opposition to a blank check for the Secretary of State was so predictable that introducing these clauses, among many other unrelated ones, close to a year after the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling against the UK appear the result of deliberate delaying tactics. There’s no date set yet for when the bill will progress to the second reading stage.

    • In the next decade, I hope for a spirit of ‘sharism’

      Feng Zhenghu, a Chinese scholar and human rights activist, has been stuck at Narita Airport in Tokyo since 4 November, unable to shower and dependent on airport staff and travellers for food. Amazingly, he seems to be becoming more optimistic about his situation. With a Twitter account and a mobile phone, he has set up a global network to support his campaign to return to China after having been denied entry eight times by the authorities. “I’m the most wretched lucky man in the world,” he tweeted.

    • Former homeland security chief argues for whole-body imaging

      The administration must stand firm against privacy ideologues, for whom every security measure is unacceptable. [note: quoted for the daemonisation term, "privacy ideologues"]

    • Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities

      The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. [note: beyond "clash of civilisations"]

    • America imposes rules on Canadian Flights

      I found this topic interesting as I’ve studied the phenomenal Canadian Privacy Act. A great set of laws that protects Canadians from intrusive collection of unnecessary personal information. It is satisfying to learn that the Canadian Government takes personal privacy seriously. In the summer an example of this was the Governments plans to sue Facebook over many breaches of the Privacy Act. This article from CBC News is right up my alley.

    • Invasion of the full body scanners

      Now, in the wake of the so-called ‘pants bomber’, Gordon Brown has announced plans to install these body scanners at all UK airports.

    • Body scanner wouldn’t have foiled syringe bomber, says MP who worked on new machines

      Gordon Brown’s plans to foil terrorist attacks by installing body scanners at UK airports are doomed to failure, according to an MP who helped to design the machines.

    • Foreign travelers to undergo ‘enhanced screening’ at US airports

      US authorities Sunday tightened security measures for all US-bound airline passengers, including enhanced mandatory screening of travelers from countries deemed to sponsor terrorism.

    • ‘Swabs better than body scanners’ say US security officials

      Swabbing airline passengers and their hand luggage for chemicals is cheaper, easier and more effective than the hotly-debated use of X-ray style body scanners, according to two top former US government security officials.

    • You Are In Control

      There’s a great article in TIME magazine by Amanda Ripley (I wrote a review of her great book, “The Unthinkable” in the City Journal) on one of the most under covered security lessons of 9/11: that an aware citizenry can defend itself. It ends with this telling para which depicts the government reasserting its authority to prop up its legitimacy:

      After the passengers [heroes] of Flight 253 deplaned in Detroit, they were held in the baggage area for more than five hours until FBI agents interviewed them. They were not allowed to call their loved ones. They were given no food. When one of the pilots tried to use the bathroom before a bomb-sniffing dog had finished checking all the carry-on bags, an officer ordered him to sit down, according to passenger Alain Ghonda, who thought it odd. “He was the pilot. If he wanted to do anything, he could’ve crashed the plane.” It was a metaphor for the rest of the country: Thank you for saving the day. Now go sit down.

      The same spirit of being in control, regardless of government inaction/incompetence, should be true for other aspects of our lives under a similar assault by a global system run amok.

    • Lieberman: No facility more humane than Gitmo

      Though his claims are not supported by numerous reports from Cuba, they were not challenged on ABC. In March an ex-detainee reportedly said the prison was in fact worse since Obama was elected, saying guards wanted to “take their last revenge.”

    • What’s Next: Muslim-Only Lines At Airports?

      Are Muslim-only lines at airports next? The thought is offensive, disgusting, and blatantly unconstitutional. But it’s hardly far-fetched.

    • Obama adviser: ‘No smoking gun’ to have thwarted terror plot

      President Barack Obama’s lead counterterrorism adviser said Sunday that the “clearly the system didn’t work” to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane, but contended that there was “no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there that said this guy was a terrorist” even though the suspect’s father told American authorities of his son’s radicalization.

  • Environment

    • Battle will be stepped up this year to save the tiger

      Over the past century, the world’s population of tigers has been reduced by 95% as a result of hunting and poaching for their body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. There are only around 3,200 tigers left on the planet.

  • Finance

    • Dubai: a modern parable

      With its debt, excess and exploitation, the glitzy emirate is not alone in a world living on credit. But, writes Jonathan Freedland, its riches could have been spent so much better.

    • Limiting banker compensation isn’t real reform

      “What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth?” writes Steven Brill in his exploration of the ins and outs of setting executive salaries and benefits under the government’s bailout of the too-big-to-fail banks and companies link here.

      Started in response to the public anger over the financial mess, it is not likely to satisfy most people, based on this account. We are more likely to find our anger reignited, first by the level of compensation established and second by the behavior of the banks and their senior management, most of whom orally agreed to return their 2009 bonuses but then all but two failed to do so.

    • Wall Street ready to claim billions in tax breaks on bonus payments.

      Compensation related tax deductions will total about $80 billion across Wall Street, according to New York City tax analyst Robert Willens. In 2008, Goldman Sachs paid an effective tax rate of just 1 percent thanks to a variety of deductions and keeping profits offshore.

    • Goldman could move units out of London-report

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has begun a review of its London operations that could result in entire departments going overseas to avoid paying increasing British taxes, the Daily Telegraph reported in its Monday edition.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Internet Service In China’s Xinjiang Will Soon Recover

      Currently, access to any websites outside of the province of Xinjiang are banned for users within the province. This means that not only can users not visit websites overseas, but they also can not visit almost all the normal websites within China.

    • Internet will return to Xinjiang

      INTERNET SERVICES are gradually being restored in western China after the government hit the off switch during civil unrest earlier this year.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • E-book Industry Gets E-diotic

      [I]nstead we are going to get all the inane reasoning that we heard from the music publishers, all the stupid attempts to “lock down” texts, and the same flourishing of publishers despite all that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Weighs Copyright As Barrier To Grey Market Imports

      New Tactic: Copyright

      Because trademark law often cannot stop the import of grey market goods, a growing number of brand owners are trying a new tactic. They are using copyright law to protect their markets in the US. (This tactic doesn’t work well in Europe because the EU lacks a single, harmonised approach to copyright law, according to Klett.)

    • Faking the arguments for ACTA

      Admitted, I trust him. Dr. Paul Rübig is a great MEP from Austria, where he represents the Austrian Christian Democratic party (ÖVP) in the Industry committee. I know him as a fierce and passionate supporter of small and medium sized companies and European entrepreneurs.

      Admitted, counterfeiting of goods is a problem for the European Union. Though references to the scape goat nations shift: when the first enforcement directive was in Parliament “Eastern European” counterfeiters took the blame. Now the Eastern European problem seems to have vanished and other “hordes” are said to threaten us. I am cautious to describe his remarks as “racists”. Europe faces immigration pressure from Africa, labour protection of immigrants is a problem and European manufacturers perceive counterfeiting as a challenge. I also prefer straight talk over superficial political correctness. How on earth does all this relate to ACTA? Listen to Dr. Rübig:

      We have to consider what the superficiality does to our political culture. Cheap enemy advocacy schemes used by the Commission and lobby stakeholders fire back on conservative values, and lead to the kind of brainstorming we witness in the video. What do we expect when a person from the DG Trade makes his arrogant jokes on China?

    • New internet piracy law comes into effect in France

      The first effects of France’s new law against internet piracy will begin to be felt as the new year begins.

      The law was passed after a long struggle in parliament, and in the teeth of bitter opposition from groups opposed to internet restrictions.

    • Bono net policing idea draws fire

      Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.

      Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 01 (2004)


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