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Links 3/3/2010: CrossOver 9.0, Android 2.1

Posted in News Roundup at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Nouveau, Pulseaudio and a critique of modern GNU/Linux distros

    A common critique I have of GNU/Linux distributions is the direction of core software packages that are seemingly replaced every few years for no other reason other than they are new. We only have to look at Pulseaudio and the mess that it has caused a what was once stable landscape of working soundcards to notice this trend. Back when Alsa ‘just worked’ for everyone, along came an over-engineered audio subsystem that acted as a network-capable sound server, a wrapper for Alsa, OSS and Esd and as a package that completely broke usable sound on a lot of people’s workstations.

  • Gentoo Optimizations Benchmarked – Part 2

    Gentoo is a source based distribution which lets the user decide how to optimize their system in many ways and includes building for a specific CPU architecture. Linux Magazine benchmarks four such options; i486, i686, pentium3, core2, and throws in Ubuntu for good measure.

  • Kernel Space

    • Finally, Reiser4 Benchmarks Against EXT4 & Btrfs

      There is no shortage of EXT4 benchmarks from comparing this evolutionary file-system’s performance on netbooks to how it battles the Btrfs file-system to its performance recession. We have even benchmarked it on USB flash drives and on high-end SSDs. We have also delivered numerous Btrfs benchmarks. In this article though we are finally delivering something that has long been requested and that is Reiser4 file-system benchmarks running directly against EXT4 and Btrfs. We have also thrown in the original ReiserFS file-system for comparison too.

    • The kernel column

      Last month saw the opening (and then closing) of the 2.6.33 merge window (the time during which Linus takes potentially ‘intrusive’ patches to the kernel, followed by a period of stabilisation) and with it a flood of patches intended for the 2.6.33 kernel release. There were the usual kinds of driver updates, but also a large amount of work on Big Kernel Lock (BKL) removal – more on that in a moment – and some controversy over graphics drivers. As usual, almost nothing is truly off limits in the kernel and even the venerable sysctl support had a sprucing up this time around. Meanwhile, outside of the merge process, there were a number of features proposed for the longer term – asynchronous page faults and power capping amongst them – and poetic verse in changelogs.

    • The Linux Foundation Launches Free Webinar Series With Big Names

      Starting this month, The Linux Foundation is offering free Linux Training webinars taught by well-known Linux developers and personalities.

    • Major Linux 2.6.34 Kernel GPU DRM Updates

      There’s already quite a bit of code that has been merged into the Linus 2.6 Git tree for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel tree, but the first pull request for the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) code has went in this morning.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.1 Out Now

      KDE has released an update to the 4.4 series of our Software Compilation. Among other improvements, this update includes a fix for KMail hanging when sending emails that just missed the deadline for 4.4.0 and a number of fixes in many gearheads’ favorite terminal emulator, Konsole.

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.1 Release Announcement

      KDE Community Ships First Translation and Service Release of the 4.4 Free Desktop, Containing Numerous Bugfixes, Performance Improvements and Translation Updates

    • The difficult choice of removing features

      Where does that leave photography ? Well clearly, it is out. And honestly, between Gimp (especially with their work on 2.8) and Digikam, there is not really much room for an other linux photography application to prosper. Since Krita was always more oriented toward drawing and painting, and photographic features were available mostly because “we can”, and there is no high-end application for drawing and painting on linux, the logical conclusion, for us, was to focus on where we can be the best, and the most useful.

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Thoughts about the current Zeitgeist situation (GNOME 3 and beyond)

      I would love to see Zeitgeist growing to be something like Telepathy in terms of providing a standard for event logging (even if its in python), and I hope we get there soon. And I hope Nokia and Intel could also make use of what we have and not reinvent the wheel if they like what we do….

  • Distributions

    • Live Hacking CD a Huge Success; Initial Download Figures for Ethical Hacking Linux Distribution Released

      Dr. Ali Jahangiri, the widely acclaimed security expert and author of Live Hacking: The Ultimate Guide to Hacking Techniques & Countermeasures for Ethical Hackers & IT Security Experts, is pleased to announce the initial download figures for the Live Hacking CD, a new Linux distribution designed for ethical hacking. In the first two weeks since its release the Live Hacking CD has been downloaded over 2400 times.

    • New Releases

      • Linux from Scratch 6.6 has arrived

        The Linux from Scratch (LFS) project has released version 6.6 of its building instructions for Linux. The project’s manual contains about 300 pages of instructions on how to compile a custom Linux system from the Linux sources. The LFS project aims to help people understand how Linux works internally and to enable them to build compact, flexible and secure Linux distributions of their own.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • CeBIT 2010: Knoppix 6.3 CeBIT Edition released

        At this year’s CeBIT Open Source Forum, Knoppix creator Klaus Knopper has announced the release of version 6.3 of his popular Live Linux distribution. Knoppix is a bootable CD, DVD or USB Flash drive distribution of Linux, incorporating automatic hardware detection. It can be used to demo Linux, as an educational CD, a rescue system, etc. Knoppix uses on-the-fly decompression, so it can have up to 2 GB of data and software installed on a distribution CD or up to 10 GB of data on a single layer DVD.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu for Beginners

          If I you decide to go with Ubuntu you need to pick which variation you want, There’s Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu. Ubuntu is probably the most common; it uses the GNOME graphical user interface. Kubuntu uses the KDE environment, Xubuntu uses Xfce (it’s great for older computers), and Edubuntu designed to be used in classrooms or other education environments. They all basically do the same thing, just look at some screenshots and pick the one you think you would enjoy using more.


          Here is a video comparing the Windows Vista Aero desktop to the Ubuntu desktop with Compiz enabled. Loading up your system with a lot of Compiz effects can cause it to slow you down if you don’t have a powerful machine. However, some people like to make things pretty so if that’s you then take a look at this video: Windows Vista Aero vs Ubuntu Compiz
          Besides the stuff you see in that video you can also draw on your screen with fire, you add rain drops to the screen, and much more.

        • Good for the goose but not for the gander.

          So some people like windows. So what! I personally think that it is a badly designed pain in the rear end which only serves as a monetary black hole for a company who is trying its best to be a financial singularity. I like Linux. I think it is the best thing since sliced bread. What was that? So what if I use Gentoo. I don’t care that it is not Ubuntu or Redhat. Whatever floats your boat.

        • Ubuntu One Music Store is Coming to Rock Your World

          The news has been confirmed. Ubuntu One Music Store is how it is going to be called. And it will be there by default in Rythmbox Music Player in Ubuntu Lucid 10.04. And that is NOT welcome because most of us don’t use Rythmbox at all. But hold on, Ubuntu One Music Store is going to have a plug-in support as well. That is sweet!

        • An open letter to Dell regarding Ubuntu, or “go big or go home”

          Well let’s see here. You bury it on your site. You offer nothing but garbage for computers available with Ubuntu — as compared to ones available with Windows.

          I guess I can’t say I’m surprised if your Ubuntu sales are slow. In fact, I’d be surprised if you sell anything at all, the way you’re going about it.

        • Advene – Annotate Digital Video, Exchange on the net
        • Panel power in Ubuntu
        • Call for Artist: Lucid Lynx

          Would you like to see your Lucid Lynx illustration in the pages of Ubuntu User magazine? To have your art considered for Ubuntu User issue #5, submit two sample drawings of a “Lucid Lynx” by March 22, 2010, 5pm CST (GMT -6).

          In one illustration, the Lucid Lynx critter should illustrate the theme “Networking,” and in the other it should illustrate “Security.”

        • Linux Mint

          • Minting the Girlfriend

            Is Vista gone from her laptop? Not yet, but maybe someday (Move Media Player not installing on Linux or through Wine is the last hangup). She is booted in Mint more often than not and has found her way around the Ubuntu Software Center to install Frostwire (among other things). She also used the Linux answer machine to hunt down the driver for her Cannon MP190 printer when it was not auto-found by the printer installer on Mint.

            All in all I must say though, the best part about installing Mint on her laptop is that now when I use it to check my email I no longer have to use Vista :)

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • LiMo Foundation Seeks Alliance With WAC

        The LiMo Foundation wants to partner with the Wholesale Applications Community, as both mobile trade associations try to cut into Apple’s overwhelming dominance of the mobile applications world.

      • WebOS 1.4 adds video capture

        Sprint and Verizon Wireless have released Palm’s upgraded 1.4 version of the Linux-based WebOS for Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones. Ofering much-anticipated video capture and editing functionality plus improved messaging features, WebOS 1.4 arrives shortly after Palm announced lowered investment guidance due to disappointing smartphone sales.

      • Nokia to launch Linux-powered N900 tomorrow

        The N900 will be Nokia’s first and last Maemo 5 smartphone, with the next version due to run the new MeeGo Linux mobile OS created as a joint venture between Nokia and Intel.

    • Android

      • Android 2.1 to be available everywhere?

        All Android phones sold in the U.S. will be eligible for an Android 2.1 update, although some older phones may need to be wiped first, says an industry report. Meanwhile another report says Google’s Nexus One is heading to Verizon on Mar. 23, and an AdMob study explores Android users.

    • Tablets

      • Sub $200 Android tablets arrives: is the iPad doomed?

        The $179 Archos 7 vs the $ 499 iPad

        The Archos 5 inch tablet has never really been a competitor to the iPad, as the screen size did put it more in the MID / media player category than the tablet category. The new 7 Inch Archos tablet running Android on the other hand is clearly aiming at the iPad crowd. Its major selling point: the price, with some models going for as low as $179 (for the 2GB version), less than half the price of the iPad. Spec-wize the Archos tablet is somewhat inferior to the iPad: it uses an older ARM 9 processor (but then the iPad A4 processor is not very fast either), has less storage (but allows for an SD card to be used), has a lower resolution screen and a more limited choice of application, but on the other hand it has a better media player (more formats are supported), do offer a browsing experience on par with the iPad and may support flash lite (flash 10.1 won’t be possible however). You probably will not get an integration as good as between the iPad and iTunes, but then you won’t have to deal with Apple censorship (you can install ANY working application just by downloading the apk file) and Linux is officially supported as your desktop OS.


        When you add to that the recent shenanigans concerning “sexy apps” (not so much a problem in the US, but much more here in Europe where we are not used to that kind of censorship) I can see Android tablets winning the tablet war on the long term.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VLC is used in Formula One

    I read a blog post of Jean-Paul Saman, a VLC developer, about the use of VLC in the most popular motorsport of the World, Formula One. According to the blog, a big VLC fan, Dan Dectis, posted a message on the vlc mailing list mentioning this picture from the Formula One Photography. This is indeed one of the examples showing the power and extent of VLC media player.

  • CeBIT Open Source Forum 2010

    For the second time in a row, CeBIT will be devoting an entire section to the topic of open source. The event will be supported by international industry associations and representative bodies such as the Linux Foundation, Linux International, the Free Software Foundation Europe and the LIVE Linux Association. The Open Source Forum will serve as the lively hub of the exhibition, which in turn features a diverse range of open source companies and independent projects.

  • Anti-FOSS Lobby

    • An Open Letter to The United States Trade Representative

      Recently it was reported in the Guardian, an on-line newspaper, that the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is requesting that the United States Trade Representative put Indonesia, Brazil and India on the “Special 301 Watchlist” specifically because those countries advocate the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in their economies.

      I have been in the software industry for over forty years, as a programmer, businessman, educator, author and entrepreneur. I have worked in some of the largest companies, both as a supplier of software and a customer of software.

      I have traveled to two of these three countries, and while I have not been to Indonesia, I helped formulate the FOSS policies of Malaysia, have worked with the government of Brazil, and presented many times in India. I know their cultures and their way of doing business.

    • Open-Source Software: Bad, Evil and Un-American

      That’s the view of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of trade bodies that includes such notables as the Business Software Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The IIPA recently submitted its Orwellian-sounding “2010 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection & Enforcement,” an annual review of intellectual property protection and market access practices in foreign countries, to the U.S. Trade Representative. Ten countries make the “priority watch list” of naughty boys this year (down from 13 last year), including Indonesia.

  • Samba

    • Samba 3.5 release includes experimental SMB2 support

      The Samba project has released version 3.5 of its open source SMB protocol implementation. Major changes include implementation of SMB2 (used in Windows Vista and Windows 7) and support for Windows’ 100 ns resolution timestamps, where supported by the kernel and system libraries. The 100ns resolution timestamps will therefore work with Linux kernels later than 2.6.22 using glibc 2.6 or later.

    • Watching the Sun Set

      I joined Sun in 1989, fresh from a System Administration job at Manchester University. I was so excited. Finally, I was going to get the chance to see the inside of “real” UNIX ! No more Minix hacking for me, I was finally going to get the chance to see and work on the source code for a real UNIX operating system. I wasn’t disappointed. It was incredibly sophisticated, with a virtual memory system, a working network file system (NFS) and a state of the art graphical user interface (SunView). It was one of the most advanced systems available at the time.

  • Government

    • Vermont Adopts Open Source Software Policy

      The policy says the Vermont Department of Information and Innovation and other departments should look at open source solutions as part of the procurement process, and are directed to calculate the total cost of ownership for an open source system, including “fixed costs (direct purchases and licensing) and operational costs for support, testing, upgrades, maintenance and training,” as part of the procurement process.

      Tucker told Government Technology that the idea for a policy began last summer, when as deputy CIO he originated a process for examining open source because there weren’t any existing guidelines. So when Tucker became CIO late last year, he convened a council that met several times and gave input on the new policy.

    • Are we about to lose?

      I don’t have the expertise to fully comprehend these NPRMs that were recently issued, but did spend the last few hours reading large chunks of all three. The area they cover is huge, and I fear open source and small EHRs are about to lose big, and big corporate EHRs are about to get total lock-in courtesy of our government.


  • Keep Your Cloud, I’m a Customer Not a Consumer

    The cloud hype is getting thicker and smellier every day. All the cloud excitement is coming from those who hope to profit from it, the vendors and breathless tech journalists who can’t think of anything worthwhile to write about. They’re working very hard to make it sound like a wonderful thing, a miracle of rare device that will transform life as we know it.

    In related news, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Sasquatch, Yeti, and Elvis are all throwing a fabulous party at Graceland and everyone is invited. If you don’t live in Memphis they’ll send a private jet to pick you up.

    The Cloud is Nonsense

    The problem with all this cloud nonsense is it’s exactly that–nonsense. Hosted services are nothing new. What would be new and radical and transformative are attractive products reasonably-priced, and good customer service. Those are the missing pieces, and I predict they will always be the missing pieces. Because it seems that among the big players in tech, research and development are devoted entirely to inventing new buzzwords. If it weren’t for the small independents we would have nowhere to turn.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Trade Rep serves drug companies, publishers and pushes anti-consumer agenda

      Today the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the 2010 Trade Agenda. The single witness is Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative. (The agency Kirk runs is known by the same name — USTR for short.) This is a busy week. A few blocks away, at the International Trade Commission (ITC), USTR is holding a day long hearing on something called the Special 301 list — which is a program to pressure trading partners on intellectual property rights. On Monday, in Geneva, the USTR blocked a request by developing countries to hold a workshop at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on access to patented medicine. The USTR is also doing damage control to defend a controversial new trade agreement on the enforcement of intellectual property rights that is being negotiated in secret, and trying to block a new treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

    • ACTA

      • New ACTA leak shows major resistance to US-style DRM rules

        The leaks keep coming for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). A new leak from Europe has revealed the inner workings of the negotiating process through a 40+ page document showing each country’s positions on key provisions of the treaty.

        While most of the negotiating is quite technical, what stands out most sharply is the international resistance to the US-drafted proposals on DRM “anticircumvention” rules. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences among parties.

      • Updated: New Zealand seeks to restrain ACTA

        New Zealand appears to be at odds with the US in the secret international Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks.

        According to Canadian internet law specialist Michael Geist a new leak from the negotiations has revealed a “significant disagreement on a range of issues” among the countries involved.

        “For example, on the issue of anti-circumvention legislation and access controls, the US wants it included per the DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act], but many other countries, including the EU, Japan, and New Zealand do not, noting that the WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organisation] internet treaties do not require it.”

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