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03.31.10

Links 31/3/2010: KDE Software Compilation 4.4.2, New GNOME Journal

Posted in News Roundup at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Journal Insider – May 2010
  • Apple: Simplicity taken too far?

    One could discard such fulminating, except for the fact that Google (with Android) and other open-source communities are increasingly focusing on delivering open-source software that prioritizes ease of use, as Canonical’s latest Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (aka Lucid Lynx) release shows.

  • What Linux needs

    Because what Linux needs is people who want to use Linux. I said a long time ago that if Linux was Windows, nobody would need Linux. By corollary, if what you need is Windows, don’t tell me Linux has shortcomings. Linux doesn’t need application X, it needs someone who is so prepossessed with the idea of creating application X that they spearhead an independent movement to duplicate it, gather a few like-minded and talented peers, and as a group they roll up their sleeves and get to work making application X.

  • Sony

    • PS3 Hacker Geohot on Lost Linux Support: I’m Sorry

      Sony has only pinned the change on “security concerns,” but hacker George “Geohot” Hotz, who released the first-ever PS3 hack earlier this year (preceded by several high-profile iPhone jailbreaks), which could ultimately allow piracy or other nefarious uses of the consoles, believes he played a role:

      First off, I want to apologize to all the people who use Linux on their PS3. Before releasing, I weighed the pros and cons, and considered the possibility of an impact on OtherOS support. My logic was this. OtherOS support had already been removed from the Slim … The builders had apparently no intention of including it in future products. So for the purposes of openness why not release?

    • iPhone Hacker: I’ll Hack to Keep Linux on PS3

      iPhone hacker George Hotz promises PS3 users a work-around for Sony’s decision to nix OtherOS support.

    • Geohot Looks To Enable Other OS Support For The PS3 3.21 Firmware

      It looks like Geohot (a famous hacker) isn’t too happy that Sony will be removing Linux support from its upcoming PS3 3.21 firmware, and the person who demoed an untethered iPhone jailbreak a short while ago, is determined to do something about it.

    • Hacker vows to avenge Sony’s PS3 Linux cut-off

      Hacker Geohot claims he has a plan to permit PlayStation 3 (PS3) users to continue running Linux on the gaming system, despite Sony’s announcement that it will block alternate operating system installs. On Sunday, Sony announced that a 3.21 update due on April 1 will prohibit the installation of alternate installations, due to security concerns.

  • Desktop

    • A plea for relief from Microsoft’s escalating anti-competitive tactics.

      For years the Microsoft corporation has earned around 70% to 80% net profit from sales of its operating systems and application software. Only in areas like Thailand where Linux on the desktop has just begun to gain a foothold has Microsoft stated that it will release versions of its operating system platform and application software at a lower price to Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs) and retail consumers than is available in the rest of the modern world. Consumers benefit where real competition exists.

    • An Easy and Inexpensive Quad-Core System for Debian or Ubuntu GNU/Linux

      The quad core processor especially makes a difference for GNU/Linux users because most of the time we are running a lot of separate processes. These can be shared over the available processors, achieving a degree of parallelism. The most remarkable thing, though, is that the 3D graphics and sound software (often major headaches to configure) appear to work exactly as they should on this hardware.

      Everything clicks into place and works. The worst problem so far has been a few lock-ups of the X windows system which might be due to video driver issues (or it might just be a flaky hard drive — the one we’re using is pretty old. We’re eventually going to replace that).

  • Applications

    • 10 Alternative Web Browsers for Ubuntu Linux

      With the Lucid Lynx release of Ubuntu just around the corner, we decided to take a look at some alternative browsers for Linux (some of them making their first appearances in the Ubuntu repositories with the 10.04 release). While Firefox is arguably still the champion of Linux web browsers, it can sometimes be slow and get bogged down by sites like Facebook. As a result (and just because it’s fun), some people have started to search for alternatives to Firefox on Linux. Thankfully, the Linux browser market has never been more full of competition. If you’re looking for a break from Firefox, there’s probably an alternative browser out there for you.

    • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Free Cloud Alliance Formed – Open Source IaaS, PaaS and SaaS for the Enterprise

        IELO, Mandriva, Nexedi and TioLive join forces to create the Free Cloud Alliance (FCA), an alliance of Free / Open Source Software publishers which provides 100% Open Source solutions for the fast growing market of Enterprise Cloud Computing. The Free Cloud Alliance (freecloudalliance.org) is the first Open Source Cloud Computing Stack which covers both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) with a consistent set of technologies targetted at high performance and mission critical applications.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 KDE 4.4.1 Beta 2

        Saw a notice that the subject’s beta 2 for their first KDE 4.4.x release was available. Downloaded, burned and booted it.

        First impression: I saw HAL leave a note on the screen about detecting my Intel GM45 chip, setting up its parameters, and configuring the AGP aperture. The result was that when KDE 4.4.1 came it it was lightening fast. Installed Stellarium and got 50-60 fps, which is unprecedented for this GM45 chip in any version of Kubuntu, Mandriva, or several other LiveCDs I’ve tried in the last year and a half. The best Lucid gives me in Stellarium is about half, 25-40 fps. Turning on Desktop effects had NO noticeable slowdown in PCLOS. In Kubuntu it drops my fps to 10-15 fps. Kubuntu’s 3D gives me an occasional tearing over the bottom panel. PCLOS’s 3D is rock solid stable.

      • Planning a move to PCLinuxOS 2010

        But, all in all, it’s a sour-sweet thing, because my current 2009 installation is absolutely solid, stable, and fast. Everything works as it should, and when rebasing a Linux distribution there’s always the chance of a rough start. I trust Texstar and his team, but something could slip through the cracks. So I’ll be on the safe side and wait a few weeks before reinstalling everything.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat expands to desktop virtualization

        Open-source enterprise software company Red Hat has updated its virtualization platform, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (REV), to include support for desktop virtualization, the company announced on Monday.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Goes Gold

        MEPIS LLC has announced the availability of SimplyMEPIS 8.5 from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.5.01-rel1_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.5.01-rel1_64.iso respectively. Deltas are also available.

        On behalf of the MEPIS Community, Paul Brooks was on hand to say: “This is one of the best releases ever. The Community collaboration with Warren has strengthened over the past couple of years, with in-depth testing and the contribution of ideas and tweaks. In particular, the Community provided artwork and documentation, which I believe are top notch. Also community member Marcos led the charge to improve MEPIS utilities and to create new Community contributed utilities.”

      • Ubuntu

        • AAC codec may be removed from Ubuntu repos

          A closer examination of the libfaac codec, a free software project containing an AAC encoder installable and used by various packages in the Ubuntu repositories, has turned up a conflict: the codec cannot be freely distributed under the LGPL, a common license used for the distribution of media libraries in free software, due to the inclusion of several other licenses’ which are incompatible with the LGPL. This is despite the fact libfaac declares itself as compatible with LGPL.

          Ubuntu 10.04 users wishing to play AAC format audio may find themselves out of luck.

        • More Right Window Button Ideas For Ubuntu 10.10

          A recent idea by Izo makes a lot more sense than all the previous ideas. Have a look (it’s called “The Workflow Button”)…

        • ‘Additional buttons’ concept for the right-hand side of windows

          It’s a refined – and do-able – concept that makes use of the current way in which many people use their desktops (i.e. workspaces) but whether it’s ‘innovative’ enough to come to life will remains to be seen.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Gemalto Expands Range of Secure Linux Payment Terminals

      MagIC3 W-1 is part of Gemalto’s MagIC3 product family, which incorporates the Open&Sec technology running on Linux.

    • DeviceVM Co-Founder and CEO Mark Lee Elected to Board of Directors of the Linux Foundation

      DeviceVM Drives Linux Proliferation Across More Than 30 Million PCs;Company Also Will Support the Open-Source MeeGo Project Hosted by the Linux Foundation

    • Phones

      • Reality Check: Making mobile Linux work

        The variety of Linux-oriented initiatives and activities in the mobile industry, including the recent announcement from Nokia and Intel regarding the formation of MeeGo, clearly reaffirms the fact that Linux will be the technology that underpins a large proportion of next-generation mobile devices. In fact, leading analyst firms predict that between 30-40% of smartphones shipped will be based on Linux by 2015. This column addresses a few key issues pertaining to this growth in mobile Linux including the need for consolidation at the core level of the mobile software stack, the choice of Linux as the technology that will be common across a large array of mobile devices of various form factors and the business models around mobile Linux.

      • Android operating system to power a smarter Telstra phone

        MOBILE phones powered by Google’s Android open-source operating system have been scarce in Australia until now.

        Occasionally, models from Taiwan’s HTC have bobbed up on Optus and Vodafone, but they have failed to make much impression on a smartphone market dominated by BlackBerry and iPhone.

        That may change with a coming explosion of new models, featuring the much improved Android 2.1 version of the OS.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud 0.9 Robby Pre-Final Brings the ‘Cloud’ Closer

        The makers of Jolicloud have been on a roll lately. Jolicloud is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu aimed at netbooks. It lays a great emphasis on cloud apps and many believe it to be a true competitor to Google Chrome OS. Several big updates have arrived in the span of just a few days so the team believs the OS is pretty much ready for its final release and have launched Jolicould 0.9 Robby Pre-Final. It’s not quite production-ready, but it is the de facto release candidate.

    • Tablets

      • Ekoore releases 10in slate PC to compete with iPad

        The device – previewed on Linux for Devices – has a 10.2in display with a resolution of 1,024×600, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard disk, and a plethora of connectivity options including both wireless and wired network along with Bluetooth and USB. The main system processor is the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, as found in many netbook devices on the market today.

        Perhaps the most interesting feature of the ET10TA is the software: Ekoore has announced that the device will ship with both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux as a dual-boot system, giving purchasers the option of running either operating system – or both, for different tasks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • New technology could open gaming world to disabled

    A new computer game designed by Imperial College London students could open the gaming world to those with severe physical disabilities.

    Using the open source game Pong, students at Imperial College London were able to make adaptations so that the player moves the bat using their eyes while wearing special glasses.

  • Zenoss: Open Source Infiltrates Large Service Providers?

    Olivier Thierry (Chief Marketing Officer) and Brian Riley (VP Global Alliances) described several Zenoss business milestones to me earlier today. Among the anecdotes Thierry and Riley shared:

    * Zenoss generated roughly 150% year-over-year revenue growth in 2009 vs. 2008;
    * the Zenoss customer base grew roughly 40% in 2009 vs. 2008
    * for every $1 customers initially spent with Zenoss, the same customer typically spent an additional 40 cents in order to expand their use of Zenoss;
    * major service providers and consulting firms embracing Zenoss include Accenture, CSC, Perot and Verizon; and
    * VMware itself uses Zenoss to manage virtualized data centers.

  • Open10MS: Still Open … Still Free

    I’m sitting in my office, which once housed all three of the OpenNMS Group founders, drinking some Copperline Amber while listening to the “tap tap tap” of the drums as the guys in the next room play Rock Band on our HD projector.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • 10gen Announces Commercial Support for MongoDB

      10gen, the company that started the MongoDB project, today announced commercial support and training for MongoDB. MongoDB is an open source, non-relational, document-oriented database used in production at organizations including Boxed Ice, SourceForge, Justin.tv, GitHub, Business Insider and Disqus.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle clamps down on Sun hardware support contracts

      “This sudden about-face in which Oracle wants a support contract for essentially any use of Solaris will make me think long and hard about deploying Solaris instead of Linux or another free OS in the future,” said Bill Bradford, a senior systems administrator at an energy services firm in Houston, Texas.

  • CMS

    • concrete5 Launches Version 5.4 With a Trip to SXSW

      concrete5 powers over 35,000 websites today, with a developer community some 18,000 members strong.

    • Platinum and Gold Sponsors Announced for DrupalCon

      “Open source software adoption reached a major tipping point over the past year, and Drupal is leading the charge. From WhiteHouse.gov to the US Department of Defense official memo on open source software to adoption by global organizations like Nike, Intel, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and thousands more, tells us that open source software is changing how enterprises do business,” said Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia. “The tremendous growth in Drupal adoption is a testament to the talent and passion of the Drupal community, and Acquia is proud to support this community as a Platinum DrupalCon sponsor.”

    • Why WhiteHouse.gov chose Drupal

      From the minute President Obama walked into the White House it was clear that the web team would have to rethink their strategy. “Branding is what the Obama administration and campaign team are all about,” said Klause. The new administration also had greater demands for connecting with constituents and using rich media. “We couldn’t keep up with what the new media team wanted,” he said.

      The WhiteHouse.gov team needed a fully functional content management system with an improved workflow and blogging features. Klause also wanted to be able to create new content types on the fly and add community-building features. Klause decided it would be helpful to go with a platform with an active and innovative community. “We needed a system with agility and to me, innovation happens in the open-source communities,” explained Klause.

  • Government

    • Italian Court OKs Preference for Open Source

      Here’s a big win for open source: the Italian Constitutional Court has approved a law in Piedmont giving preference to open source, ruling that it is not anti-competitive:

      Just over a year ago, the Piedmont Regional Council passed a law which states: “… the Region, in the process of choosing computer programs to acquire, prefers free software and programs whose source code can be inspected by the licensee” (Article 6, paragraph 2).

      This choice was welcomed with enthusiasm by Free Software supporters and civil society, while the Presidency of the Italian Council of Minister contested this law, by referring to the Constitutional Court in order to declare it unlawful.

      On March the 23rd, 2010, the Court ruled that the preference for Free Software is legitimate and complies with the principle of freedom of competition.

    • Watering down European standards

      The concept of open IT standards, which is central to the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), is to be watered down to such a degree that it will fade into insignificance. At least that’s the impression given by a current EIF 2 release leaked to the Free Software Foundation Europe.

      The internationally recognised European Interoperability Framework (EIF) for using open standards is to lose further weight and definition during the version 2 revision process. After a first draft became public in November 2009, a new EIF 2 “Release Candidate” leaked in March has added further fuel to the earlier criticism.

    • EIFv2 ad nauseam

      What do you get out of this? The whole EIF2 was a document to be ready and delivered in 2007 latest. We are in 2010 now. It is just a small paper to be attached to a communication.

  • Openness

Leftovers

  • ‘Meow meow’ review may be hampered after drug adviser quits in scientific objectivity row

    Dr Polly Taylor, a consultant veterinary surgeon and long-standing member of the government’s drugs advisory council, offered her resignation to the home secretary, Alan Johnson, in an email late last night.

    Taylor is the sixth expert to resign from the committee since the controversial sacking of the chairman, Professor David Nutt, last October. Several other council members are considering their positions, the Guardian has learned.

  • Science

    • LHC research program launched with 7 TeV collisions

      At 1:06 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) today, the first protons collided at 7 TeV in the Large Hadron Collider. These first collisions, recorded by the LHC experiments, mark the start of the LHC’s research program. For more information about this milestone event, the LHC’s physics potential at 7 TeV and American participation in the project, read the press releases below. You can also tune in live to CERN’s LHC First Physics webcast before 12:15 p.m. Eastern time (6:15 p.m. CEST) today.

    • Mars robots may have destroyed evidence of life

      HAVE Mars landers been destroying signs of life? Instead of identifying chemicals that could point to life, NASA’s robot explorers may have been toasting them by mistake.

  • Security

    • High-tech copy machines a gold mine for data thieves

      Want to know what expenses your boss claimed last month? How much your colleague makes? What the co-worker down the hall is really working on? Forget about hacking their computers – you might want to hit the nearest photocopier instead.

  • Environment

    • The trillion-dollar question is: who will now lead the climate battle?

      As an array of expertise, it is formidable: but then so is the task they have been set by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. In effect, the world’s top financiers have been told to work out how to raise at least $100bn a year for the rest of this decade, cash that will be used to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to climate change.

  • Finance

    • Bill Lockyer, Furious That California Is Riskier Than Kazakhstan, Sends Angry Letters To Goldman et al About State CDS Trades; (Or The Greek CDS Scapegoating Campaign – Animal Style)

      Do you see what happens Larry when you sell CDS on California? You get a Greek-style scapegoating campaign. Cali’s State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, exasperated at his impotence to sell $2 billion in GO bonds, has resorted to the last option: sending angry missives and trying to make a media circus out of it. It is now all Goldman’s fault that California is bankrupt, just because it dares to make a market in Cali CDS. Ring a bell? It worked miracles for Greece, whose bonds are now tumbling a day after everyone said Greek issues were resolved. Also, we can’t wait to uncover, just like in the Greek case, that the biggest buyer of Cali CDS is PIMCO, CalPERS, TCW, Western, Oaktree, or some other California-based fund. Now that would be even funnier than Cali considered a more worthless “asset” than Kazakhstan. At least their potassium deposits are best in region.

      From Bill Lockyer’s letter, attached below:

      Dear Mr. Blankfein:

      I write to request information about your firm’s market activities related to credit default swaps on municipal bonds in general, and State of California general obligation (GO) bonds specifically.

    • PR problems hurting Goldman Sachs’ business

      We suggested recently that the Treasury (Treasury news) really couldn’t select Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) as top underwriter and advisor for its staggered sale of its massive horde of Citigroup (NYSE: C) stock. It just would’ve been way too controversial, red meat for the conspiracy theorists.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Missing Chinese dissident Gao Zhisheng reappears

      But now the outspoken activist, feared by some to be dead, appears to have re-emerged in circumstances as mysterious as his disappearance. Reporters and friends said he spoke to them by phone today, saying he was living at a Buddhist landmark in Shanxi province.

    • China has just blocked Google, Conroy to follow suit?

      A news report in Forbes says that China has blocked Google with its great firewall, now the world waits to see if Australia’s Minister for Censorship, Senator Stephen Conroy, will do the same following his outrageous attacks on Google.

    • US reveals concerns over Conroy’s net filter plan

      The Obama administration has questioned the Rudd Government’s plan to introduce an internet filter on the grounds that it runs contrary to stated US foreign policy of using an open internet to spread economic growth and global security.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • High Court Finds Newzbin Liable For Copyright Infringement

      Newzbin, the Internet’s premier Usenet indexer, has lost its High Court case against several Hollywood movie studios. Justice Kitchin found the company, which turned over more than £1 million in 2009, liable for copyright infringement and will issue an injunction restricting its activities later this week.

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