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01.07.10

Links 7/1/2010: GNU/Linux All Over CES

Posted in News Roundup at 9:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audio

  • Desktop

    • Why HP Doesn’t Need The Microsoft Tablet

      It is surprising that HP is keeping itself away from GNU Linux. Considering the amount of R&D, expertise, and talent that HP has, it makes more sense for HP to create their own customized version of GNU Linux.

      Debian based Ubuntu would be a good start. Software is not a big issue any more. Most of the Free and Open Source software is more popular that ‘bounded’ or ‘locked’ software. Look at Firefox, Thunderbird, Chrome, OpenOffice, GIMP, VLC and many more.

    • How (and Why) to Partition Your Hard Drive

      Finally, partitioning lets you try out other operating systems–like Linux, for example. Generally, two operating systems can’t coexist on the same volume without stepping on one another’s toes, so you won’t be able to dual-boot Linux or ease into Windows 7 if you’re on a single-volume system.

    • The next generation of Linux notebooks arrives at CES

      That’s the big news so far from CES on pre-installed desktop Linux. I’m sure there’s more news coming though. Tune in tomorrow to see what else develops.

    • Site statistics through December 31, 2009

      Operating System
      Windows 74.57% 61.83% 61.82% ↓ 64.68%
      Linux 10.81% 21.17% 21.95% ↑ 17.59%

    • DeviceVM Releases SplashTop 2.0

      DeviceVM has unveiled SplashTop 2.0. SplashTop 2.0 introduces a completely redesigned application dock, the ability to customize the desktop (e.g. different wallpapers), instant search, and visual navigation of favorite sites and history. SplashTop 2.0 will initially appear on a new Lenovo netbook, but it will make its way to other vendors as well, including ASUS.

    • HP Mini 5102 netbook lands

      As well as the touchscreen capability, the 5102 will also have facial recognition software, Linux based QuickWeb which allows near instant access to Internet and files and will house Intel’s new Atom processor – the Pineview.

  • Server

    • The Small Business Server Replacement is Clear(OS)

      When it comes to the Internet, Linux is a big win.

      Mail and web servers, databases, computational clusters and supercomputers all belong to the domain of free software. When it comes to embedded devices, Linux is also king of the roost.

      [...]

      Now, meet ClearOS, a free and open source Linux distribution which does just that. ClearFoundation released the stable version of ClearOS 5.1 just before Christmas and it is available for download.

      It might sound like a new kid on the block, but actually ClearOS has a long history going back to the turn of the century. It was previously known as ClarkConnect, a very popular distribution for setting up a Linux server quickly and conveniently. ClearOS is now built on CentOS, which is in turn built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As such, ClearOS has a solid and reliable foundation.

    • January 2010 Web Server Survey

      Apache gained approximately 3M hostnames compared to the December 2009 survey, bringing their total to 111.3M.

  • Graphics Stack

    • ATI X.Org Driver Gains Embedded DisplayPort

      AMD’s Alex Deucher has just committed initial support for Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) connectors/monitors to the xf86-video-ati DDX display driver. Traditional DisplayPort monitors are already supported by this open-source ATI driver, but now Embedded DisplayPort connectors should begin to work as well. Here is the Git commit that provides the initial support.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE SC 4.4 branched, trunk reopens

      So tonight, release-team-hero Dirk has branched off KDE SC 4.4 from trunk. Let quickly explain what this means. Trunk/ is a directory in KDE’s SVN repository, the central place holding where all the code from different contributors spread across our planet comes together. In a big team like KDE, we need some coordination to be actually able to release our software packages once in a while. Since the release of KDE 4.0.0, a typical KDE release cycle takes 6 months. Roughly 4 months of development, followed by about 2 months of stabilization and testing towards a release. In the stabilization period, which starts with the feature and string freeze, only bugfixes and code improvements are allowed. This is also the period where we release regular test releases, in our case a beta1, right after the feature freeze, and a second beta (happened shortly before christmas). The next test release is coming soon, which is -rc1.

    • Making Firefox 3.x Look at Home in KDE4 (Part II)

      Back a few mere months ago, we wrote about how to make Firefox 3.x look at home in KDE Software Compilation 4.X. To date, this has been the most-viewed article on The Blue Mint. The reason is clear: People like Firefox. Be it the extensions, familiarity, general responsiveness (that gets better with each release), or the cross-platform compatibility, Firefox is here to stay. And it remains the flagship web browser of choice within the GNU/Linux playing field.

      [...]

      To install, simply download the theme, open Dolphin (or Konqueror) and drag the downloaded file into the Firefox Add-ons window. Take a look at the screen shots to see what you think.

    • On KDE 4.3.3

      All kinds of apps that I have some idea about, but only from “the other side of the fence,” things I’ve only read about in the gtk+ world. On the other hand . . . as long as my existing gtk+ apps are integrated visually into KDE (thanks to QtCurve) and “just work,” maybe I don’t need to duplicate my entire Xfce environment?

  • Distributions

    • Cooking with SliTaz – An Innovative (and TINY!) Linux OS

      With the fact that everything run in RAM and the low number of packages in the online wok, I doubt you’d want to install SliTaz as your main desktop OS, but I don’t think that’s what it’s for. I’ve used distros similar in design philosophy (such as Damn Small Linux) to do things like system recovery, partitioning and virus scanning, and that’s just the place SliTaz would shine as well. Grabbing some additional packages and rolling a new USB flavor could easily add some power to any tech toolkit.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO On Recession, Virtualization, Ballmer

        Whitehurst sees more and more open source firms being acquired by major companies because of the quality of the code produced in open source projects. But he thinks it is better for both the project’s developers and the community if an open source company remains independent. Red Hat is such a company, he said, and issued a departing jab at Oracle. “I like the strategic clarity of being pure open source. I do worry about the mindset you have to have as part of a large company,” he said.

      • As Sun sets, HP goes after its customers – with Red Hat’s help

        As European regulators drag their feet in deciding whether to approve the merger of Oracle and Sun, rivals – including Red Hat – are continuing to feast on the remains of Sun’s business.

      • [Fedora project leader:] A spoonful of sugar.

        All of us who help support people of any kind, regardless of experience level, should have a somewhat regular checkpoint of introspection, where we honestly think about our own effectiveness at listening and empathy. Then we can adjust our dealings with those we support to maximize the constructiveness of our interactions, and thereby have a direct, positive effect on the culture of free software.

    • Debian Family

      • Slashdot In Ubuntu Membership Shocker!

        For those of you who have read the recent Slashdot article announcing Ubuntu’s new membership programme, this is clearly a mistake.

        Ubuntu has had the concept of membership for many years, helping us to identify those who have made a significant and sustained contribution. This is nothing new and nothing is changing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • AR.Drone: Sky-high future for augmented-reality gaming

      It’s certainly a clever beast. The four-bladed “quadricopter” uses an onboard Linux-based computer to process information from its cameras, accelerometers and gyroscope to ensure level flight, while direction and speed are controlled by tilting an iPhone, iPod Touch or any other device with a camera, screen and wi-fi connectivity.

    • Cambridge embedded systems event offers embedded Linux workshop

      Embedded Linux TrainingFor the third year running, the UK Embedded Masterclass will be running a half-day workshop that offers an “Introduction to Embedded Linux”.

    • Intel Updates Wind River VxWorks OS

      “VxWorks and Wind River Linux are complementary offers, allowing Wind River to serve customers who need Linux or VxWorks,” Brown said. “These can be used separately, and there certainly are vertical sub-markets better suited by one or the other. In addition, we can offer them together as a single solution.”

    • Marvell’s Linux Computer in a Wall Wart Seeks Killer Apps

      This blog post starts with a strange question: What would you have if you stuffed a wall wart with a 32-bit Linux computer complete with wired and wireless Ethernet, Bluetooth, one USB port, and an optional hard drive? The simple answer is you’d have a “Plug Computer.”

    • Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station turns USB drives into remote NAS

      In addition to remote access, it’s also possible to duplicate the contents of one drive to another (complete with a one-touch QuikTransfer button on the front panel) and share up to two printers. It also offers UPnP DLNA media streaming, simple photo slideshows and Iomega throw in some backup apps too.

    • TomTom Ease GPS Goes Back to Basics

      With the Ease, TomTom has trimmed the fat from its more elaborate GPS devices to offer a small and simple navigator. Its 3.5-inch LCD touch screen presents users with two oversized buttons: “Plan route,” and “Browse Map.” Enough said.

    • Tablets and EReaders Steal Thunder at CES 2010

      But Google, who announced their Nexus One iPhone killer yesterday, is sitting pretty as its Android version of Linux appeared on numerous products. Oddly, they don’t make much money on Android, but what they do get is a developer network that has an increasing number of platforms to purvey their products on.

    • Phones

      • Hands on: Lenovo Lephone review

        Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing introduced the handset by saying he believed the “Lephone is the best device in this category.” The handset is a looker, with an 800×400 pixel screen and a proprietary Linux-based OS.

      • Dell Rings The Smartphone Bell

        Dell’s smartphone further strengthens Linux’s position in the smartphone segment. Dell already has deals with major mobile operators around the globe including the world’s largest, China Mobile. Dell has similar deals with Claro in Brazil.

      • WebOS Phones Coming to AT&T

        AT&T followed up the announcement that it will soon offer five Android-based smartphones with another piece of news: the carrier will offer two Palm webOS phones “soon.”

      • Android

        • AT&T Joins the Android Party

          At long last, AT&T customers can experience some of the Android madness. At the AT&T Developer Summit at CES in Las Vegas, the carrier announced that five Android-based smartphones are debuting on the network in the first half of 2010.

        • AT&T Hedges Bets, Adds Android and WebOS

          AT&T is embracing the Google Android and Palm WebOS operating systems–adding a total of seven new handsets in 2010 built on the new mobile operating systems. With speculation that its iPhone exclusivity will soon end, AT&T is expanding its portfolio, but AT&T is at a disadvantage and it may be too late to start hedging bets.

        • Nexus One teardown: ‘nicely put together’

          The gadget teardown experts at iFixit have forked out $530 for a Google Nexus One smartphone, taken it to bits and posted their thoughts online.

        • Android devices sweep CES 2010

          Google wasn’t the only company announcing new Android-based devices this week. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, several handset and mobile device manufacturers also announced new models and partnerships with mobile carriers for their Android devices, ranging from various mobile phones and tablets, to eBook readers.

        • Why Nexus One is bad for Linux

          Certainly Google is a good open source citizen and they contribute back to Linux and the broader open source community (so I’m not knocking them on that front, cause they’re awesome there). But nexus one grows the Google Android community first and foremost and Linux only by association. It’s not the bold vision of the Linux phone world that existed a few years ago, it’s a Google vision.

        • Is Nexus One “bad” for Linux?

          Yesterday, Google accomplished something I’ve wanted to see for a very, very long time: A Linux-based personal computing device getting enormous mainstream coverage. Granted, you weren’t hearing the word “Linux,” much in the coverage, but it’s still a good thing in my book.

        • Android Madness at CES: Fad or Future?

          The wave of announcements appears to validate earlier predictions that the open-source Linux-based Android would become a major player in the mobile market, although market acceptance of the Google-backed OS may have taken longer than first expected.

        • First Look: Motorola Backflip With Motoblur

          The phone runs on Android 1.5 with Motorola’s cloud-based Motoblur user interface.

        • HP Experiments With Android

          This machine’s presence at the show isn’t nearly the big deal it might be, for one simple reason: HP says it’s just experimenting with Android. This is a concept PC, and there’s no news about its chances of turning into a shipping product you can buy. Still, you gotta figure that if HP has gone through the bother of building this prototype, there’s a real chance it’ll commercialize it in 2010.

        • Turn Your Android Phone Into A Real Star Trek Tricorder

          This review is of the Star Trek Tricorder open source Android project by Moonblink. I’ve used the popular Tricorder theme with my previous phone, a Windows Mobile device, but I never imagined that a day would come when I would be able to use an actual Tricorder application which could actually sense environmental factors like magnetic flux, acceleration, sound waves and even solar activity. Ladies and gentlemen and starship cadets, I would like to present to you an application that does just that, not only for the Droid, but for any Android mobile device with at least most of the appropriate sensors.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • HP’s netbook triplets step up to Atom N450

        HP announced three netbooks using Intel’s N450 “Pineview” processor that support SUSE Linux: the Mini 210, Mini 2102, both with 10.1-inch screens, and the Mini 5102, which offers 10-hour claimed battery life. Meanwhile, at CES the company unveiled a prototype Qualcomm Snapdragon-based Android “smartbook,” says Engadget.

      • Marvell launches quad-core ARM CPU

        CHIP MAKER Marvell has launched a quad-core ARM processor at CES 2010 in Las Vegas.

        The chip is based on the same CPU architecture as Marvell’s Armada 500 and 600 processor series and uses the ARMv7 architecture.

      • Hands on with Lenovo’s Skylight smartbook

        It uses a Lenovo build of Linux which includes simple application switching and an application dock similar to the one in Mac OS X.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Jaspersoft CEO: Targeting 50% Growth in 2010

    Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile (pictured), like many of his open source peers, has some lofty goals for 2010. With the help of SaaS and on-premise channel partners, Gentile says Jaspersoft — which specializes in business intelligence software — can grow 50 percent and generate positive cash flow in 2010. Here’s the scoop, including a FastChat video with Gentile.

  • The thinking behind JetBrains’ open source strategy

    Development tools vendor JetBrains caused something of a stir in October last year with the news that it was releasing an open source Community Edition of its popular IntelliJ Idea Java IDE using the Apache License.

  • Programming

    • Teach yourself how to program by making computer games!

      “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” is a free e-Book that teaches you how to program in the Python programming language. Each chapter gives you the complete source code for a new game, and then teaches the programming concepts from the example.

    • OLPC Should Look Past Hardware to LISP and FPGA

      The Python programming language community figured out how to put up-to-date Python programs and Python interpreters on old (like first generation) iPods. This has the same advantage as the LISP on your junk-yard Atari. It is taking stuff that the rich people think is trash and using it in new and productive ways. The under developed nations get old computers anyway, but they are putting them in toxic waste dumps. Most western teens do not want an iPod from 2001, and this Python interpreter allows them to be reused in a productive way.

    • Third Ruby-on-Rails beta nears launch

      A beta for the third iteration of the wildly popular Ruby on Rails is due later this month or in early February.

Leftovers

  • FTC reminds us that storing data in the cloud has drawbacks

    The Federal Trade Commission worries that consumers don’t really understand the privacy implications to storing some of their most crucial data in the cloud, and it wants the FCC to think about such issues when finalizing its national broadband plan.

  • 2010 bug hits millions of Germans

    A 2010 software bug has left millions of German debit and credit card holders unable to withdraw money or make payments in shops, and thousands stranded on holiday with no access to cash.

    About 30m chip and pin cards – a quarter of those in circulation in Germany – are thought to have been affected by the programming failure, which meant that microchips in cards could not recognise the year change to 2010.

  • London unveils digital datastore

    More than 200 data sets detailing life in London are to be put online by the capital’s governing body.

  • Security

    • Hacker pierces hardware firewalls with web page

      On Tuesday, hacker Samy Kamkar demonstrated a way to identify a browser’s geographical location by exploiting weaknesses in many WiFi routers. Now, he’s back with a simple method to penetrate hardware firewalls using little more than some javascript embedded in a webpage.

    • The Naked Truth About Airport Scanners

      To judge from the news accounts, Umar Abdulmutallab did everything to get himself caught except wear an Osama bin Laden T-shirt onto that Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day. Yet the danger didn’t dawn on anyone until he allegedly set himself on fire while trying to detonate the explosives hidden in his underwear.

    • Ormskirk binman says he was taken off his usual round for taking side waste

      A binman from Ormskirk says he has been taken off his round of 34 years as ‘punishment’ for taking waste left at the side of wheelie bins. Albert Stewart, 60, of Scarisbrick Street, works as a refuse collector for West Lancashire Borough Council.

      He told the Advertiser: “I have done the same round in Aughton for over 30 years, and just because I took some side waste, I’m being punished – they’ve taken me off my round.

      “They weren’t just people I took rubbish from – they were my friends too.”

    • Police officers ordered by Home Office: ‘Don’t talk about crime – it upsets people’

      Police officers have been told to avoid talking about crime to members of the public – after Home Office chiefs found it ‘upsets them’, it can be revealed today.

      The report, called Improving Public Confidence in the Police Service, states that when officers highlight crime and anti-social behaviour problems at community meetings it can lead to ‘feelings of fear’ among the public.

      One officer from Thames Valley Police, who did not want to be named, said the report sounded like a ‘bad joke’. ‘What the hell do they expect us to talk about at a public meeting? The price of tea in China or how much a pint of milk costs?’ he said.

    • Post-Underwear-Bomber Airport Security

      The problem with all these measures is that they’re only effective if we guess the plot correctly. Defending against a particular tactic or target makes sense if tactics and targets are few. But there are hundreds of tactics and millions of targets, so all these measures will do is force the terrorists to make a minor modification to their plot.

    • The Skies Are as Friendly as Ever: 9/11, Al Qaeda Obscure Statistics on Airline Safety

      Last week, I wrote an article that detailed just how exceedingly rare terrorist incidents aboard commercial airlines are. What I didn’t do is to compare the current situation to that of previous eras. Fortunately, there is quite a lot of data on this subject, particularly from the matter-of-factly named website PlaneCrashInfo.com. From their database, I compiled the number of passenger fatalities resulting in each decade from three types of incidents: sabotage (i.e. bombings), hijackings, and pilot shootings (which are much rarer than the other two types; just three in the database). Collectively, I term these Violent Passenger Incidents or VPIs; they are the things we might hope to prevent via tighter airport security.

      In the 2000s, a total of 469 passengers (including crew and terrorists) were killed worldwide as the result of Violent Passenger Incidents, 265 of which were on 9/11 itself. No fatal incidents have occurred since nearly simultaneous bombings of two Russian aircraft on 8/24/2004; this makes for the longest streak without a fatal incident since World War II. The overall death toll during the 2000s is about the same as it was during the 1960s, and substantially less than in the 1970s and 1980s, when violent incidents peaked. The worst individual years were 1985, 1988 and 1989, in that order; 2001 ranks fourth.

    • Fix Airport Security

      Can you spot a terrorist?

      You’ve probably already tried it.

    • Sarko gets crypto mobe after BlackBerry ban

      Nicolas Sarkozy and 20,000 of his French government lieutenants will be equipped with specially-commissioned encrypted smartphones, following fears over the security of BlackBerries.

  • Finance

    • The Problem with the Revolving Door – It Brought Us Too-Big-To-Fail

      Bailouts and political connections go hand in hand according to a just released academic study. The study, which was conducted by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan researchers, shows concretely that lobbying, campaign contributions, and the finance/federal government revolving door has helped the most damaging banks despite the dangers they pose to our economy.

    • Bernanke: Wrong Speech, Wrong Nominee

      Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave a speech this week that made headlines and raised eyebrows: “Lax Oversight Caused the Crisis, Bernanke Says.” Finally, many thought, the Fed Chairman would fess up to his role in the crisis! Alas, 98 percent of the speech is dedicated to justifying what the Fed did right over the last decade, and the “lax oversight” apparently had more to do with other agencies charged with regulating mortgages and underwriting practices, not his own.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • “The President Won’t Say the Word ‘Terrorist,’” and Other Right-Wing Spin

      What is Cheney saying about this whole myth that President Obama won’t say the word “terrorism” Well, his speech writers helped kick off this little myth with a speech more cleverly worded than his minions can mimic on the talk shows, but the gist is the same. But-for the purpose of proving my point on the origin of the echo chamber, I would not quote this criminal at all; his line was that the president “seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war.”

    • Olbermann taunts GOP by using the word ‘terror’ 27 times

      A GOP lawmaker suggested that President Barack Obama could improve his response to security threats by using the word terrorism more often. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann took the congressman’s suggestion Wednesday and used the word terror 27 times in a single paragraph to show how Republicans exploiting it as a “brand name” are “doing the terror work of terrorists.”

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • It’s official: Blogging is a dangerous business

      On the journalistic front, the raw figures speak for themselves: in 2009, 76 were killed (vs. 60 in 2008), 33 were kidnapped, 573 were arrested and 1456 physically assaulted. The most dangerous places to be a journalist were war zones and disputed elections.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Nirvana’s Bassist: I Don’t Understand Having ISPs Regulate Copyright Files, But I Support Bono’s Position Anyway

      It’s one thing to speak from a position of ignorance, but admitting it and still then taking a strong position? That’s something special. U2′s Bono kicked off quite a firestorm by insisting that having ISPs monitor everything was a good way to deal with unauthorized file sharing online, citing China’s success with internet censorship (failing to realized that it hasn’t been that successful in reality). This resulted in widespread criticism of Bono and it appears that Nirvana’s bass player, Krist Novoselic, has stepped up to defend Bono (found via Karl Bode).

    • French Government Urged to Tax Online Ad Revenue

      A report commissioned by the French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand urges the introduction of a tax on online advertising such as that carried by Google, which would be used to pay the creators of artistic and other works who lose out to online piracy.

    • France floats Google music-and-movie tax

      A new proposal to tax internet advertising revenue was among the recommendations offered by the government-appointed panel. Money raised would finance the availability of cultural material online and fund the protection of artists losing out to piracy.

      [...]

      Zelnick’s recommendations follow the French government’s efforts to pass its controversial “three strikes” law that would disconnect internet users repeatedly accused of illegal downloading. His reports also taps into fears of the growing influence of major internet companies.

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