Archive for May, 2007

Tribute to a Friend

I found out today that my friend Jim Farnsworth died Sunday, he had recently gotten a very bad flu bug and it unfortunately led to his death. To many who have visited LXer he was known as ‘jimf’ and to many on the Mepis and Debcentral IRC channels he was known as ‘R0nin’. Jim was a Linux user before it was called Linux. He used to be a computer engineer before he retired years ago and he worked on Unix mainframes and a hundred other types of computers you or I have never heard of.

Jim helped me to switch from SuSE to Debian some months ago. He taught me a lot about Linux and a lot about life along the way. We would talk to each other almost every night on IRC and give each other a hard time and help others who needed it. He was old enough to be my Grandfather and for my part he kinda was. I could talk to him about things that I just couldn’t talk about with a lot of other people. It is that kind of comfort level that endears someone to you very quickly and very deeply. His main motivation was to help people learn about Linux and to help them out with advice if they needed it.

I already miss you Jim. May you rest in peace my friend.


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LXer Article

Guess what? Dell is selling computers with Linux Pre-installed and our own Don Parris was on top of the story from the beginning. More details came out concerning the Microsoft-Novell deal, IBM looks to be “opening up” development and with the Indianapolis 500 being run today the Tux500 campaign comes to a very successful close.

Moglen: SUSE Vouchers Have No Expiration Date! (Unlike MS’s Patent Bullying): In this article Growklaw reports that Eben Moglen said that the SUSE vouchers Microsoft is distributing have no expiration date so they would then be subject to the GPLv3 which I think would most likely break the MS-Novell deal. Why am I not sad?

Railsconf 2007 roundup: Our own Sean Lynch aka ‘number6x’ attended the Railsconf 2007 and submitted this overview of the show.

Microsoft’s Patent on a Pile of Baloney: In this editorial by Carla Schroder, she states plainly: “..Because there is no patent threat. None at all.” and she’s right, there isn’t.

Microsoft is not the real threat: This post by Mark Shuttleworth on his blog is interesting in that Mark really tries to tell us that Microsoft is not a real threat to the Open Source community. Sorry Mark, but I can’t walk down that road with you because I have evidence to the contrary.

From MP3 to OGG: Freeing Sound from the Chains of Proprietary Software: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has launched a campaign to convert the world to OGG, a non-proprietary alternative to MP3 audio files. It’s called the PlayOGG Campaign. This is an issue for me because I am a musician and I listen to a ton of music and I still need to convert a lot of my collection over to OGG.

Five Tired Old Myths About GNU/Linux: Don Parris gives some old myths a new review: “Would you believe that, in 2007, there are people who still blame Linux for the lack of hardware vendors who advertise Linux support and who believe that the Bash project’s evangelists are hurting Linux uptake?”

‘The List’: Open Source Advocates Unleash Fury at Microsoft: You have to read this and then go and add your name to “The List”. It is a list where you can sign up to ask Microsoft to sue you for using Linux. I signed it, and I am glad I did.

You cannot advertise an iGasm, says Apple: This article has nothing to do with Open Source but I just had to include it in my round-up because it is so darn funny. It goes to show just how far the “i” word can really go.

Why Is Dell Hiding Their Ubuntu Boxes?: During the Dell Ubuntu rollout Don Parris kept us up to date on where, and if you could find the Linux offerings on Dell’s website.

Automounting removable devices on Debian: I had this very problem come up last week because my computer all of a sudden stopped recognizing my external Hard Drive. I fixed it before this article came out but I had to figure it out the hard way.

IBM looks to open up development: IBM is experimenting with opening up its software development process to see if developing applications the open source way could work for them. Jerry Cuomo, CTO of IBM said “The reward of getting our information out there is going to be amazing and critical to the future of IBM’s software,”. I think he is right.

Novell Goes Public with MS Patent Agreement Documents: Novell has filed its delayed annual report with the SEC, which includes the technical co-operation and patent agreements it entered into with Microsoft in November 2006. It looks like Eben might be right about the GPLv3 effect.

Tux500: The End of a Campaign, the Beginning of a Movement: At Noon EDT, the Tux 500 campaign came to an end. The campaign was a success on many levels. Linux was noticed by the sports and mainstream press and it raised the awareness of the need for Linux marketing in general. Hats off the the tux500 guys, now its time to race!

First OpenOffice virus emerges: I gave Matt Hartley a pass this week because I just couldn’t get this one out of my head. You better lookout, there’s a virus that affects OpenOffice! Oh No! For the first time in history there is a virus that OpenOffice is susceptible too. Now run and buy that $700 copy of Office2007 right now before it gets you.

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LXer Article

The big stories this week are Microsoft spreading the FUD of actually putting a number on the amount of patents that Linux supposedly infringes upon and Dell trying to get their Linux advertising right. The key word being “trying”. So much for just one FUD article of the week..

Report: Microsoft says open source violates 235 patents: Microsoft top lawyer Brad Smith alleges in a magazine report that the Linux kernel and OpenOffice.org violate hundreds of the company’s patents.

Metric equivalent of Microsoft fonts for Linux: Red Hat is going all out to make sure the Open Source remain truly open. And the latest offering from this company is a gift in the form of fonts which are the metric equivalent of most commonly used Microsoft fonts and released under an open license as this article indicates.

Scared Microsoft just spreading Linux patent FUD: Interesting take on the 235 patent infringements argument, suggesting that Microsoft is running scared of open source and spreading FUD in an attempt to bully people into paying some kind of Microsoft Tax.

Clever IT use slashes carbon dioxide output: Switching off your computer at the end of day saves about 75 percent of the electricity it uses which could reduce the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by more than 500kg. This advice is obviously for people and businesses that do not have mission critical software running and I am not sold on his statistics either.

Giving Up on Microsoft: The author writes, “Although I’m still satisfied with my place in the Microsoft development universe, some developers desperately want off the Microsoft treadmill. Mike Gunderloy is a notable example.”

Microsoft’s reignites its war on Linux: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 14 claimed that “Linux violates over 228 patents. Someday, for all countries that are entering WTO [the World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money to pay for the patent rights for that intellectual property.” With that comment, Microsoft declared war against Linux and open source yesterday… Oh wait. My mistake, Ballmer made that attack in November 2004.

Dell’s Ubuntu Deal Still On: Our own Don Parris writes: A missing post on Direct2Dell site, especially viewed against the backdrop of their latest arrangements with Microsoft and Novell, prompts questions about the Dell’s Ubuntu deal. The deal is definitely still “on”.

LXer ‘classics’: 101 patents Microsoft may infringe: Our own Hans Kwint re-posts an older LXer story that was released in 2005 showing patent numbers where parts of Microsoft might infringe upon.

Microsoft patent claims hint at internal issues: A Microsoft move to seek patent royalties from open-source distributors and users may be an attempt to use legal threats to deflect attention from company problems. Microsoft Corp.’s aim to seek patent royalties from open-source distributors and users may be an attempt to use legal threats to deflect attention from larger questions surrounding its business, including lack of interest in new versions of core products and lackluster profit from new wares.

Linus Torvalds Responds To Microsoft Patent Claims: Linus Torvalds, lead developer of the Linux kernel, has a sharp retort to Microsoft executives’ statements in a Fortune magazine article that Linux and other open-source code violate 235 Microsoft patents.

Open letter to Novell: Release the patent numbers!: LXer reader Sander Marechal writes: The technology industry has been in a buzz since last Monday’s Fortune article in which Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith claims that the GNU/Linux operating system infringes 235 of Microsoft’s patents. Microsoft refuses to tell the community what those patents are, but they told you, Novell.

The Microsoft FUD Campaign vs. the Customer: Almost everything that can be said has been said about the latest moves by Microsoft to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about Linux. Countless pundits and analysts have pointed out that Microsoft threats are toothless. Some have noted that Microsoft has singled out Linux and OpenOffice, the biggest threats to its monopoly on operating systems and office suites. Surely Microsoft could claim that the *BSDs infringe on similar patents if not the same ones. But the *BSDs do not pose as great a threat to the company.

Tux500: Gregoire Appears to Be OK After Practice Crash: Stephan Gregoire, driver of the Linux-sponsored car in this year’s Indianapolis 500, climbed from the car under his own power this afternoon, after hitting the wall in the short chute between turns 1 and 2. The rear end of the car appeared to get loose and swing around as he entered turn 1, and although he was nearly able to save it, the rear of the car made contact and slid down the wall.

Tux500: Stephan Gregoire Suffers Broken Vertebra in Crash: The author writes, “I just got off the phone with Ted Woerner of Acceleration Marketing, and I’m floored. Stephan suffered a broken vertebra in his crash this afternoon. This is a very sad day.”

Can Dell Fix Their Google Ad Campaign?: Don Parris catches up with Dell on their ad campaign: LXer inquired about Google’s advertising program to find out why Google ads show up with the words “Dell Linux Desktop”, even though Dell hasn’t yet launched its line of Ubuntu-based computers, and whether Google considers the practice misleading. Can Dell fix the misleading advertising problem?

Madtux and Vector Linux Announce NEW Linux PCs from $139.00 USD: MadTux, a leading Linux hardware vendor established since 2000 and Vector Linux, a popular open-source operating system, formed in 1999, are pleased to announce the release of the Lean, Mean, Green Vector Machine. Consumers everywhere will now have the choice of the fastest Linux distro on their desktops. The Lean, Mean, Green (LMG) Vector Machine is offered in a number of configurations, ranging from bleeding edge 3.3GHz 64-bit performance to the reliable but affordable $139 PC.

Google talks open source: Every time you use Google you’re using Linux. So says Google programs manager Chris DiBona in a wide ranging interview that also touches, naturally, on the Microsoft patent threats and what it means for businesses like Google.

Linux-powered OLPC on “60 Minutes” May 20: CBS TV’s “60 Minutes” will feature the Linux-powered OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) device on Sunday, May 20 at 7 p.m. EDT/PDT. Project director Nicholas Negroponte will talk about his dream of putting a laptop computer into the hands of every child as an educational aid.

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LXer Article

Who are the Linux desktop users?: A typical Linux desktop user is a guy in his twenties who’s computer savvy but may very well not be an IT professional. Those are some of the conclusions you can draw from the just-released openSUSE survey results.

Dell Joins Microsoft and Novell Collaboration: In the first article of our Dell theme this week, this is the press release that kicked it all off.

Creating A DNS Cache With djbdns: Building a local DNS cache will speed up your internet connection since the time for the translation job (converting domain names into IP addresses) will become negligible with the assumption that the DNS cache gets the information from the parent DNS.

The 2007 Rave Awards: The Wizard of OS – Mark Shuttleworth: Used to be, Linux was easy to champion but hard to use. That was before Ubuntu. The free open source operating system is elegant, secure, and intuitive. For that, we can thank South African tech entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.

Is brand name Ubuntu over hyped ?: Check out any technology related site and you will find at least one or two articles which praise Ubuntu Linux – a distribution which has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds over the rest of the brood. This author had a different experience with the latest version of Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn which prompts him to question whether there is some over hype involved as far as the brand name Ubuntu is concerned….

Linux and The Indianapolis 500: The idea to have the Open Source community sponsor a car in the Indianapolis 500 put forth recently has more than just the Open Source Press taking notice. Here is my take on it.

Dell’s Linux Problem: Dell became a hero to Linux fans worldwide when it announced last week that it would begin selling PCs loaded with the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft’s Windows.

Novell Linux desktop architect goes to Google: On May 4, Robert Love resigned as chief architect of Novell’s Linux desktop efforts. He has since announced that he has accepted a position at Google.

The empire strikes back: With one stroke, Microsoft has reasserted its number one position as deal maker and decision maker in the computer industry, reminding all wannabes that they are just that – wannabes.

So Dell Said No…Big Deal: The actual email was nothing spectacular. Just no…our budget has already been set for the year…yada, yada, yada. Then yesterday, the entire thing crystalized before our dis-believing eyes. Now I think I understand.

Indianapolis Star Brands Tux500 Project a Winner: Getting anything into the mainstream news cycle is tough. The old adage “If it bleeds, it leads”, has proven to be an apt proverb in the case of the Tux500.com Project. While the only thing that may be bleeding in this effort are a few egos, that sort of injury isn’t enough to get the attention of the big guys in the mainstream press.

Gentoo’s Graphical Installer is Unnecessary: Gentoo has long been a distribution aimed towards the power Linux user. It allows users to foray into the inner workings of their computers, and is not for those who need an operating system immediately. With this year’s first Gentoo release, 2007.0, comes an updated LiveCD featuring a completely rewritten GTK+ based installer, but isn’t a graphical installer defeating some of the purposes of Gentoo?

Top 5 Linux Distros: This is an article, showing some of the most popular Linux Distros, and also the versions of the packages that comes with its last stables releases.

Google finally admits to going after Microsoft.: Google today officially confirmed what many analysts have been saying for months: the Mountain View, California-based search leader is going after the software market in direct competition with Microsoft.

Dell Listens to GNU/Linux Community – Will It Pay Off?: A scant two weeks after Michael Dell returned to the company he founded in 1984, to help repair it, Dell launched its IdeaStorm project and several others in an effort to listen to their customers. The GNU/Linux community has spoken loud and clear. Time will tell how well Dell is listening.

Tux500: Why This Matters: In an article by Bob Moore he states, “I’ve been at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, covering action for Tux500 for the last several days. I’ve seen the crowd that is walking around the garage area, the crowd that is milling around on Pit Lane, the fan that is sitting in the stands. I’m here observing the reaction to Tux and to Linux.”

Ubuntu versus Vista comparison: In our FUD of the week article submitted by an LXer reader sander, the author decides that Ubuntu just isn’t enough like Vista for him.

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LXer Article

The idea to have the Open Source community sponsor a car in the Indianapolis 500 put forth recently has more than just the Open Source Press taking notice. Here is my take on it.

First a disclaimer: I am in not in any way, shape or form involved with the Tux500 campaign. I happen to know several of the people involved but other than that I have no connection to it whatsoever. With that said I am free to express any opinions I may have on the subject, which I plan on doing right now..

It all started several weeks ago when Bob Moore and Ken Starks made public the idea of sponsoring a car in the Indianapolis 500. The idea being to have one of the cars say “Linux” and/or have a big “Tux” logo on it. A very cool and very bold idea. Having your name on one of the cars in the biggest motorsports event on the planet does not come cheap. Here’s the funny thing, its not the amount of money but where its going to be spent that has gotten underneath some peoples skin. Some like the NASCAR or Motorcycle circuits more and others don’t believe that people who watch any kind of Motorsports are who the Open Source community should be advertising too. Then there are those who just don’t like anything and some, ok one, who thinks its a scam of some kind.

Does anyone remember when Firefox had the two full page ad in the New York Times? At the time I was very involved in the Spread Firefox campaign and I remember when Asa Dotzler and others proposed the idea of raising money to put an ad in the New York Times and tell the world about Firefox. Something like that had never been done before. Many people immediately questioned why they had chosen the New York Times instead of another publication. Others thought that we should make the ad smaller and put it in several newspapers at once and still others just didn’t like it no matter what paper or publication was mentioned. Sound familiar?

Well Asa stuck to his guns and took the time to explain over and over again that putting the ad in the New York Times, because of its national and international circulation would have the greatest effect possible for the money raised. The majority of people involved agreed and the donations came pouring in. So much money was raised that instead of the original one page idea it became two pages in size making certain that the ad could not be glanced over by the reader. Also, having the names of the people who donated to the campaign incorporated into the actual design of the ad was a stroke of genius.

Now whether or not you like the idea of taking out a full page in the New York Times or painting an Indy League Racing Car with Linux logos is your own prerogative. Like it or not you have to respect the fact that someone is trying to do something, anything to get the word out and let the world know about how great Linux and Open Source Software really is. I believe that taking action, any action is better then inaction. The arguments over whether the money is better well spent on something else or your preference of one newspaper or racing league over another are counter productive to what is trying to be achieved, especially the curmudgeons who don’t like anything and have to tell everyone about it. The arguments for not taking action never change, no matter the source.

One of the things I like about about Open Source is that it gives the individual the choice to do what they want and nothing more. You can use the software and walk away if you wish. You do not have to participate in the community at all and no can make you. That kind of freedom makes people want to participate and it is just one of the reasons that the Open Source Community is as strong as it is. It is the voluntary bonds of common interest we create that are the strongest and it is the voluntary, and mostly volunteer Open Source Community that is one the strongest communities of common interest on the planet, I challenge anyone to refute this.

The Indianapolis 500 is the single largest Motorsports event on Planet Earth. It is a one of a kind car race with no equal inside or outside of the United States. There are race teams whose only purpose is to attempt to qualify and run in that one race. It is the only race that gets the attention and feeds the imagination of people of all ages no matter where they are or what country they are from. For an entire month people from all over the world watch, listen and read about what is going on in Indianapolis. If you have ever seen a car and know what a “race” is, then you have heard of the Indianapolis 500. It is that full month of publicized qualifying, testing and good old fashion “grandstanding” leading up to the actual race that make it comparable to the World Cup in every way.

With all the corporate entities refusing to help because they think that having a car in the Indy 500 with a Linux logo on it is not enough to make them want to help, it is up to us to make this happen. Its up to us as a community to show the world what we are capable of. With Red Hat not wanting to help, and Novell and Dell playing us against Microsoft, what I have done in response is to contact all of the vendors in our The Pre-Installed Linux Vendor Database and ask them for their help in sponsoring the Tux500 car. I can only hope that some of them will like what they see and donate to the cause. I have also been telling everyone I know about it as well. I am only one person but I know I am not alone in my efforts. I am a part of a worldwide community of people who believe in Free and Open Source Software.

My personal goal in writing this article is to inspire you to help out, to tell others and through your actions show the world just how powerful this community is. Are we going to raise the whole $350,000? probably not, but it does not mean that we have failed if we don’t. Are we going to be able to raise the minimum $25,000 so that we have a Linux Logo on the car period? I hope so. That goal is certainly within reach and if we do we will have done something that has never been done before. We will have shown the world that a community of people can come together to promote something that they believe in so strongly that it got put on a car in the Indianapolis 500 for the whole world to see.

And just what is it that we will get in return for our support? The ability to tell the world that we were a part of putting a car in the Indy 500. We were a part of making the world take notice of Linux. I don’t know about you but that is something I want to be a part of. It is something I am going to brag about to any who will listen to me for a long time to come.

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LXer Article

The big news this week is Dell continuing to make noise about actually selling computers with Linux, or more specifically Ubuntu pre-installed. Now if they can do more than just advertise it with some links that only go to Windows machines, I’ll start to believe it.

Vista – End of the Dream?: An article that talks about how the Windows 2000 code that got released onto the Internet and how incredibly bad it is.

What’s wrong with Ubuntu 7.04: A reviewer decides that Ubuntu fanboys have been avoiding the hard truth about just how good Ubuntu really is.

U.S. schools may join inexpensive laptop project: The nonprofit “One Laptop per Child” project said on Thursday it might sell versions of its kid-friendly laptops in the United States. I hear there’s a rumor that there are poor people in this country too. I can’t confirm if its true or not though. 😉

Does WINE + Linux support more Windows apps than Vista?: Why couldn’t a billion dollar company provide support for previous versions of Windows? So that users would be forced to use Vista?! and oh not everyone would be able to do so since you would need at least 1GB of ram and a graphics card that supports DirectX 10 to run it!

PCLinuxOS Magazine May 2007 Issue 9 Released: The latest issue of PCLinuxOS Magazine is out. Some of the highlights include, KDE User Guide Part 2, Scroogle and Konqueror Integration, Top Ten Reasons for Using Linux, Linux in Education and Using Settings from a Previous Linux Install.

MS Office 2007 versus Open Office 2.2 shootout: The author writes “This isn’t the first time I’ve measured Office CPU and memory consumption of Microsoft Office and Open Office. I have a whole series on it dating back to 2005. This time, I’m pitting Microsoft-backed OOXML (Office Open XML) versus the OASIS-backed ODF (OpenDocument) format with Microsoft Office 2007 and Open Office 2.2.”

Top U.S. Court Clears Way for More Patent Challenges: The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier to challenge patents for failing to introduce genuine innovations, siding with Intel Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. and dealing a setback to the drug and biotechnology industries.

State by state, Microsoft responds to creeping threat: State-by-state skirmishes over open-source document formats represent the latest showdown in a long-running, and so far unsuccessful, campaign to topple Microsoft’s sheer dominance of the desktop software application market. Outside of Florida, four other states since January have seen language similar to Homan’s included in proposed bills.

Ubuntu on Dell – Good for Linux or just for Canonical?: Dell hasn’t stated yet exactly on which models it will provide pre-installed Ubuntu, but Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a nice analysis of the different options and most likely models. One thing sticks out from that list: as bigg on the LXer forum has noticed, they all have Nvidia cards and Broadcom 1390 wireless cards. Will Dell be shipping machines with no hardware 3D and wireless support? That can’t be good for Linux! But it’s certainly going to be good for Canonical selling paid support…

Dell is not the spoon: An article written by former Dell employee and LXer reader Aladdin Sane about why Linux on a Dell computer could be doomed to failure.

Distro Selectors: How Accurate Are They?: Matt Hartley writes “Nearly everyday, I have people e-mailing me with questions regarding my choice of the distributions that I highlight. Many of them feel that Ubuntu is too simplistic and that I should consider something like Gentoo. Others, however, ask me why I’m not more supportive of more entry level distributions like PCLinuxOS and Freespire.”

Open Letter to DELL: A letter to Dell written by LXer Lane Beneke (aka NoDough) asking them to support the Tux500 campaign.

German government plans to use open document formats in its administration: The German government says that its “Advancing eGovernment” conference held at the end of February in Berlin also provided impetus for greater use of open standards in information technology both in industry and in public administration. As a result of this conference, the German government plans to implement open document formats in its administration.

A month on the command line — Day 1: Steven Rosenberg decides he is tired of debating which of Linux’s various desktop environments and distributions are best and goes cold turkey for a month on the command line only.

Ubuntu Founder: No Emulation Software for Dell Systems: Dell won’t include open-source software such as Wine with its Ubuntu Linux machines, according to Mark Shuttleworth.

One man writes Linux drivers for 235 USB webcams: A lone hobbyist programmer sitting at his home in France is responsible for adding 235 USB webcams to the list of those supported by Linux. He talks about this often unknown and unrecognized achievement.

Dell To Fix Misleading Advertising Links: In some Google searches for Linux computers, Dell advertisements have cropped up in the advertising links, leading unsuspecting users to Windows-only computers at Dell’s website. After initially being ignored, LXer’s Don Parris finally gets a response from Dell.

Push for Indy 500’s first TeamLinux car stirs controversy: It’s the kind of grass-roots effort for which the open source community is known: grab a domain name, put up a site, and submit the link to Digg. But Ken Starks and IT consultant Bob Moore, the organizers of the Tux500 effort, added an extra step that is raising some eyebrows in the community: they opened a PayPal account and are asking Linux fans for more than a quarter of a million dollars. Tina Gasperson talks with Ken Starks and Bob Moore about the Tux500 campaign.

Reiser Prosecution Jolt: Victim’s Ex-Lover Confesses to Eight Killings: In our Open Source meets real world justice article, A former lover of the missing wife of Linux programmer and accused spouse killer Hans Reiser has confessed to killing eight people unrelated to the case, prosecutors informed the defense last week.

Why Apple Should Acquire AMD: In our not quite FUD but just stupid article of the week Gundeep Hora decides that Apple should buy AMD because AMD is in trouble and Apple is not..or something to that effect.

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