Archive for June, 2007

LXer Article

It has been a while since my last installment because events have transpired that have kept me from finishing it, some happy and some sad. With a fair amount of procrastination sprinkled throughout I had begun to write this article off and on after work, between band practices and playing gigs with my band. I would try to meet up with my friend in IRC to pick his brain but our conversations became fewer and far between.

The friend I speak of is Jim Farnsworth (aka R0nin) who passed away in late May. After his death I avoided even looking at this article because I didn’t know how to continue and I would end up just missing him all over again. It hit me just the other day that if Jim were still around he would have long since started riding me about finishing it up and starting work on another. Well Jim, I heard you and I am dedicating this entire series to you my friend, even though you made me promise not to tell anyone it was you who was helping me.

At the end of the last installment I had just gotten Synaptic re-installed and configured after unintentionally removing it. Since then it has worked perfectly and I have been updating and adding and removing software without incident. I even upgraded to the 2.6.21 kernel which has since made my computer boot up significantly faster than any other previous kernel.

During what was to be one of our last conversations I asked Jim why Firefox was called IceWeasel with a different icon and everything under Debian and his response was, plus an expletive or two “I’m not going to waste time explaining it to you, go find out for yourself if means that much to you.” So with a swift kick to the behind from Jim I went and found out why.

I thought it was stupid that it had to be called IceWeasel and before even looking into it I assumed that someone from either Debian or Mozilla was being a control freak or stubborn about something. I would come to find out I was right and wrong at the same time which was new for me, since I am used to just being wrong most of the time.

It seems that Mozilla has an interesting trademark policy regarding the use of the Firefox name. Even after you get permission to use it they can decide to revoke your right at any time, and without much notice either. Now that issue aside Debian has a strict policy of not including non-free software in their distribution and Firefox includes proprietary artwork along with their “Talkback” crash reporting system and the Firefox plugin finder that includes non-free plugins which conflicts with Debian policy.

So between Mozilla’s right to revoke usage and Debian’s non-free software exclusion, something had to be done if a Mozilla flavored browser was going to be available for Debian users. What happened was Debian Developers came up with a different name and removed and/or changed all the proprietary components in Firefox so that people like me wouldn’t cry about not being able use their favorite browser.

I want to commend the Debian Developers who did all the work in making it possible to include IceWeasel in the Debian repositories. I would thank the Mozilla people too but I am not sure exactly what for, except maybe for not making it impossible for the Debian people to make the necessary changes.

Well, I feel better knowing all that, don’t you? I understand and agree with the Debian stance on not including proprietary software and not budging on it but the Mozilla infinite right to revoke usage sounds like something they got from the Microsoft EULA or something. You were right to not waste your time trying to help me wrap my head around this one Jim. I think I feel a headache coming on..

I got the opportunity at work recently to use Free Software to solve a problem with a faulty DVR, save my boss some serious cash in the process and help a coworker pull some music files and stuff off a bad Hard Drive using Knoppix in what I like to call, “How My Big Mouth Finally Paid Off”. Trust me, my mouth still got me into trouble but that’s only because I don’t know my own strength..”Its not my fault, that thing was going to come off anyway..”

Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything.


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Copyright (C)

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

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You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see .

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:

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The hypothetical commands `show w’ and `show c’ should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program’s commands might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an “about box”.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school, if any, to sign a “copyright disclaimer” for the program, if necessary. For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see .

The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read .


Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

This version of the GNU Lesser General Public License incorporates the terms and conditions of version 3 of the GNU General Public License, supplemented by the additional permissions listed below.

0. Additional Definitions.

As used herein, “this License” refers to version 3 of the GNU Lesser General Public License, and the “GNU GPL” refers to version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

“The Library” refers to a covered work governed by this License, other than an Application or a Combined Work as defined below.

An “Application” is any work that makes use of an interface provided by the Library, but which is not otherwise based on the Library. Defining a subclass of a class defined by the Library is deemed a mode of using an interface provided by the Library.

A “Combined Work” is a work produced by combining or linking an Application with the Library. The particular version of the Library with which the Combined Work was made is also called the “Linked Version”.

The “Minimal Corresponding Source” for a Combined Work means the Corresponding Source for the Combined Work, excluding any source code for portions of the Combined Work that, considered in isolation, are based on the Application, and not on the Linked Version.

The “Corresponding Application Code” for a Combined Work means the object code and/or source code for the Application, including any data and utility programs needed for reproducing the Combined Work from the Application, but excluding the System Libraries of the Combined Work.

1. Exception to Section 3 of the GNU GPL.

You may convey a covered work under sections 3 and 4 of this License without being bound by section 3 of the GNU GPL.

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b) under the GNU GPL, with none of the additional permissions of this License applicable to that copy.

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The object code form of an Application may incorporate material from a header file that is part of the Library. You may convey such object code under terms of your choice, provided that, if the incorporated material is not limited to numerical parameters, data structure layouts and accessors, or small macros, inline functions and templates (ten or fewer lines in length), you do both of the following:

a) Give prominent notice with each copy of the object code that the Library is used in it and that the Library and its use are covered by this License.

b) Accompany the object code with a copy of the GNU GPL and this license document.

4. Combined Works.

You may convey a Combined Work under terms of your choice that, taken together, effectively do not restrict modification of the portions of the Library contained in the Combined Work and reverse engineering for debugging such modifications, if you also do each of the following:

a) Give prominent notice with each copy of the Combined Work that the Library is used in it and that the Library and its use are covered by this License.

b) Accompany the Combined Work with a copy of the GNU GPL and this license document.

c) For a Combined Work that displays copyright notices during execution, include the copyright notice for the Library among these notices, as well as a reference directing the user to the copies of the GNU GPL and this license document.

d) Do one of the following:

0) Convey the Minimal Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, and the Corresponding Application Code in a form suitable for, and under terms that permit, the user to recombine or relink the Application with a modified version of the Linked Version to produce a modified Combined Work, in the manner specified by section 6 of the GNU GPL for conveying Corresponding Source.

1) Use a suitable shared library mechanism for linking with the Library. A suitable mechanism is one that (a) uses at run time a copy of the Library already present on the user’s computer system, and (b) will operate properly with a modified version of the Library that is interface-compatible with the Linked Version.

e) Provide Installation Information, but only if you would otherwise be required to provide such information under section 6 of the GNU GPL, and only to the extent that such information is necessary to install and execute a modified version of the Combined Work produced by recombining or relinking the Application with a modified version of the Linked Version. (If you use option 4d0, the Installation Information must accompany the Minimal Corresponding Source and Corresponding Application Code. If you use option 4d1, you must provide the Installation Information in the manner specified by section 6 of the GNU GPL for conveying Corresponding Source.)

5. Combined Libraries.

You may place library facilities that are a work based on the Library side by side in a single library together with other library facilities that are not Applications and are not covered by this License, and convey such a combined library under terms of your choice, if you do both of the following:

a) Accompany the combined library with a copy of the same work based on the Library, uncombined with any other library facilities, conveyed under the terms of this License.

b) Give prominent notice with the combined library that part of it is a work based on the Library, and explaining where to find the accompanying uncombined form of the same work.

6. Revised Versions of the GNU Lesser General Public License.

The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the GNU Lesser General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Library as you received it specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU Lesser General Public License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that published version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Library as you received it does not specify a version number of the GNU Lesser General Public License, you may choose any version of the GNU Lesser General Public License ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

If the Library as you received it specifies that a proxy can decide whether future versions of the GNU Lesser General Public License shall apply, that proxy’s public statement of acceptance of any version is permanent authorization for you to choose that version for the Library.

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LXer Article

The big stories this week include Bolivarian Computers made in Venezuela, an illuminating comparison of ODF and OOXML, Mandriva’s CEO says publicly that they will not sign a cross licensing deal with Microsoft, Miguel de Icaza shows off Microsoft’s Flash replacement and an “expert” on Innovation vacillates on his own definition in reference to Open Source software. All these stories and more for your reading enlightenment.

New Google Linux Apps Coming Soon: During their presentation at this years Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit the Google Linux Client Team announced that there are going to be new Google desktop applications coming out this year for Linux.

Venezuela Launches Sale of “Bolivarian” Computers: The Venezuelan government or should I say, The right arm of Hugo Chavez announced the launch of their “Bolivarian Computers” made with combination of Venezuelan and Chinese technology . Four different models that will all have Linux preinstalled. Hugo Chavez may be a power hungry dictator but at least he like Open Source software. Its not much, but its something.

Achieving Openness: A Closer Look at ODF and OOXML: Sam Hiser compares ODF and OOXML and discovers the difference between actually being open standard and saying its an open standard. Just because Micorsoft says its an open standard doesn’t necessarily mean it is, why am I not surprised.

Interview With Fred Miller – GNU/Linux Evangelist: Don Parris interviews Fred Miller, a prolific GNU/Linux evangelist and active member of the OpenSUSE community.

CEO of Mandriva: We will not go to Canossa – No deal with Microsoft: The CEO of Mandriva goes on record to say that his company will not sign a cross licensing deal with Microsoft and in the process earns some respect from the Open Source community.

Ubuntu’d, you’re getting a Dell: Our own Lane Beneke (aka NoDough) writes about his experience of buying a new computer with Ubuntu preinstalled from Dell to give to his Daughter for college.

Adventures in Digital Photography With Linux: Carla Schroder shares some of the new tricks, tips and more that she learned from the Don Parris article From the Camera to the Web With Konqueror.

Silverlight To Run On Linux This Week: In Microsoft’s continuing onslaught on Adobe, VP of Novell Miguel de Icaza will demonstrate Microsoft’s Flash replacement at the Mix07 conference this week in Paris. I guess some of the money they gave to Novell gets you a couple of “stand next to our product” sessions by a VP too.

Don’t wait for Vista SP1, pleads Microsoft: I couldn’t help but post this story. It seems that the uptake of Vista is so bad that Microsoft has had to create a Vista version of the “Get The Facts” website to convince people to upgrade to Vista and not wait for an SP1 update because there will not be one. Vista is so good it doesn’t need an update, ever. Yeah, right.

Bad, Bad Reasons Not to Buy Open-Source Software: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols responds to the eWEEK slide show, Ten Reasons Not to Buy Open Source which was based on “Microsoft.Net Creates End-to-End Framework That Offers Lower TCO”. The funny thing is, I cannot find either the slide show he references or the Microsoft article anywhere. If someone does, please let me know. I would love to read them.

What the “ultimate filesystem”, Sun ZFS, means for your desktop, in Plain English: Ashton Mills translates Sun’s ZFS filesystem jargon into plain English for the rest of us.

Xandros and Microsoft to build Open Source translator: Xandros announced this week that it will join Microsoft and others to build and ship open source translators between documents stored in Ecma Office Open XML and Open Document Formats. The translators will be made available to Xandros users via the Xandros Networks update facility.

Laura and Me – Updated: Pamela Jones talks about some of the history involving her, SCO, Laura DiDio and some of the things that have been said and done since she worked at SCO and the ensuing trial that Groklaw covers.

Will The Real Open Source CRM Please Stand Up?: Michael Tiemann responds to the many people who have asked “When is the OSI going to stand up to companies who are flagrantly abusing the term ‘open source’?” The answer is: starting today.

Open Source is Not Innovative: In the first of our two FUD articles this week Dr. R. Keith Sawyer who in his own words is “one of the country’s leading scientific experts on creativity” gets his definition of “Innovation” a little mixed up and decides that Open Source Software is, and is not innovative. Read for yourself and decide if he knows what he is talking about. Just how does someone become an expert on Innovation if they don’t know what it means anyway?

Is Open Source Dying?: Michael Hickins does his best to sow the seeds of despair in trying to convince us that despite the ever present and growing success of Open Source that it is actually slowly winding down and dying. And I thought I was crazy..

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Today I was promoted to Editor-in-Chief for LXer Linux News. Here is the post on LXer.com.

Introducing Scott Ruecker

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LXer Article

First off, Happy Fathers Day to all you Fathers out there, especially mine. It seems that Microsoft is all over the news this week. Between the Linspire deal, getting help from an old friend in the Justice Department to yet another one of their shills stating that OpenXML really is an open standard. Not to worry though, I have lots of other articles for you to check out.

Microsoft Finds Legal Defender in Justice Dept.: Thomas O. Barnett, top Justice Department antitrust official and former partner at a law firm that representing Microsoft in antitrust disputes, has recently rejected a complaint by Google and is urging state prosecutors to do the same.

Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn — Cool, Fresh and… Unstable: Borys Musielak writes “This will not be another “I just installed Ubuntu — it beats Windows — try it yourself” type of review. It is going to be rather a report from another successful upgrade, pointing out the biggest surprises and the most miserable failures of the latest release of Ubuntu Linux, codenamed Feisty Fawn.”

Microsoft Spits in GPL Creator Richard Stallman’s Eye: The GPL creator’s attempts to stop Microsoft from cutting any more of those patent-protection deals like the one it cut with Novell don’t quite seem to be working.

Linux Programmer’s Toolbox: What does it take to start writing programs for Linux ? Most people will guess a text editor, knowledge of a programming language and the compiler and libraries of that language would suffice. But ask a professional programmer who has been writing code for Linux and he will differ with you.

Torvalds: Solaris could nudge Linux to GPL 3: Linux leader Linus Torvalds has finally found something that could convince him that the forthcoming version 3 of the General Public License is worth adopting: open-source Solaris.

Microsoft and Linspire Collaboration Promotes Interoperability and Customer Choice: Here is the press release announcing the Linspire-Microsoft deal. I keep hearing an old Queen song in my head, “and another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust”.

From the Camera to the Web With Konqueror: Our own Don Parris shows us how to get pictures from our cameras and onto the web without pulling your hair out in another one of our LXer Features.

Microsoft Will Help Deliver a “Better” Linux (Linspire announces deal with Microsoft): Here is the letter that Kevin Carmony wrote where he talks about why the deal with Microsoft is good for Linspire and Linux in general.

Tutorial: Protecting Data with Encrypted Linux Partitions: In this tutorial Carla Schroder shows us how to protect our data using encrypted partitions.

How To Compile A Kernel – Debian Etch: In this tutorial Falko Timme of HowToForge.com shows us the steps to be taken in compiling a kernel under Debian Etch.

Linux leaders plot counterattack on Microsoft: Eric Auchard likens the Open Source movement to a religious sect in his “slightly” slanted report on the recent get together of Open Source figures at Google headquarters.

Lessons from a Community Fundraising Project: D.C. Parris and Brian Proffitt publish their financial report and lessons learned on the Tux-500 campaign.

Microsoft Interoperability Team: Bring on Red Hat: Microsoft said the company hopes to strike a Linux pact with Red Hat similar to the partnerships it has forged with Linux vendors. So far Red Hat is not interested.

Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu and Microsoft — he’s not signing nothing: Steven Rosenberg found a post my Mark Shuttleworth on his blog concerning whether or not Ubuntu would be signing a deal with Microsoft. Mark has since expanded and reposted his thoughts on his blog.

Microsoft’s next Linux partner is…?: In the first of our two FUD articles of the week SJVN tries to convince us of his telepathic abilities because he knew that Linspire was going to be next to sign a deal with Microsoft. So Steve, can you tell what I am thinking right now?

Open standards advocate comes out in favor of Microsoft: Microsoft’s standards format has been misunderstood and being “pro Open XML” doesn’t make one “anti ODF”, claims Australian activist Rick Jelliffe. Hmm, I wonder who pays his bills..

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LXer Article

The big news this week was Microsoft signing LG Electronics and Linux Distributor Xandros to cross patent licensing deals. We have several articles submitted by our readers and Don Parris talks about why those patent agreements are a search for Fool’s Gold.

“Eating Dog Food”: LXer reader Aladdin_Sane submitted this article talking about what happens when there’s no separation between Microsoft and the customers they care about.

Looking for a small Linux that will run with a GUI in 4MB of RAM: LXer, tracyannne posted a question about finding a small Linux Distro that would be small enough for what was needed and got quite the response from other readers.

Linux: making small businesses possible: Sander Marechal writes: “I have a small company that builds websites for equally small businesses in the area and it’s Linux that made this possible. If we would have been stuck on the Windows platform there is no way we could have done what we do because it would simply have been too expensive.”

Microsoft teams with Linux distributor Xandros: Microsoft and Linux distributor Xandros signed a deal very similar to the one signed between MS and Novell. Two down, 500 or so to go..

Former Microsoft Insider Speaks Out: A former Microsoft employee talks about the environment at MS and its evolution during his time there.

GPLv3 – Unforseen Consequences?: Kevin Carmony sound off on his concerns for the GPLv3, one wonders if he is trying to get in line for a deal with Microsoft or something else entirely.

Ultra-lite AntiX Linux targets obsolete PCs: Chris Preimesberger writes: “MEPIS today said that the RC of a community-built “ultra-lite” derivative of its own Linux distribution is ready for testing. AntiX (pronounced “Antics”) is the personal project of MEPIS community member “anticapitalista,” who wanted a MEPIS version that would work well on old PCs.”

Microsoft & Linux Vendors Trading in Patent Fool’s Gold: Our own Don Parris writes: “Well what do you know? Microsoft seems to be gaining ground with their “patent protection” scheme. But what if they discover they’ve only bought a few bricks of fool’s gold?”.

A guide to using PDFs on GNU/Linux: A really good overview of the different things you can do with PDF’s in Linux by Bruce Byfield.

The Daily Static: Check out User Friendly’s daily cartoon. After speaking with the “Smiling Man”, we thought it would be appropriate to link to User Friendly here at LXer.

Inconvenient truths: PC vs. Mac, Windows vs. Linux, us vs. them, et al.: In our slanted article of the week Steven Rosenberg goes way out of his way be nice to Windows 2000 in comparing it favorably to specific Linux Distros.

Microsoft aims Linux patent FUD at devices: Microsoft signs a deal with LG Electronics that extends LG’s protection onto the embedded devices they make. Now if MS could just make it illegal to run Linux on computer hardware, Hmm.

The New Distro: I saved this article for last because it goes the real heart of the matter when it comes to Microsoft and their money. One of our regular forum members devnet asks: “How much does it cost to buy you? Do you have a price? Can you be paid off?

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LXer Article

First off my apologies for delay in getting the “LXer Weekly Roundup” to you. Yesterday was my Birthday and I am also out of town visiting family. So between my celebrating and well, my celebrating its been an interesting “morning”. We have some great article selections this week for your reading pleasure.

A challenge to all Linux Users in the World: A recent posting by George Ou about Windows Home Server brought out a lot of responses from the Linux community. I think that Microsoft deserves to get some competition.

Of Insecurity Complexes and Other Great Adventures: Are we seeking “love” in all the wrong places? I don’t think so. I think everyone deserves a chance to take a look at Free and Open Source Software. Before moving on from TUX500, I am asking everyone here and other places to do one thing: don’t ever forget where it all came from!

Linux Distribution Guide: This is a brief 4 page guide to the world of Linux distributions, primarily aimed at individuals who are new to the Linux scene, and who are thinking about taking the plunge and trying Linux for the first time. It also has some gaping holes in the selections provided but it is not bad overall.

Eben Moglen: GPLv3 not about MS and Novell: Joe Barr writes “One of the highlights of my visit to San Diego for the Red Hat Summit was the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Professor Eben Moglen. From that interview, we have selected six segments on various topics for your viewing pleasure, and will be publishing one each day this week. First up, an explanation of all the things that GPLv3 is about other than the MS/Novell deal.”

Microsoft’s scare tactics protecting profits, says Linux Foundation: The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin says Microsoft’s recent patent claim against Linux and the open source community is a furphy, alleging it is a delaying tactic to merely help protect its profits, according to a column penned last Friday in Business Week.

A little history of Fuddenheim: Hans Bezemer does a great job of using a story where the names are changed but you still know who the characters are in this funny history of “Fuddenheim”.

Sun Microsystems Powers the First Productivity Suite in the Sky: Singapore Airlines, the First Airline to Offer a Productivity Suite while in the air, has chosen Sun Microsystems Star-Office as its software of choice.

Ronin: Logged Off (9 July 1943 – 27 May 2007) – Celebrating the Life of Jim Farnsworth: Jim Farnsworth, known to many as “jimf” or “Ronin”, logged off the IRC channel, #life, Sunday morning in a hospital in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As an active member of the LXer community, we’d like to help our readers celebrate Jim’s impact on all of us.

RPM Project Roadmap: RPM Package Manager (RPM) relaunched under rpm5.org with a roadmap towards RPM 5.0 http://rpm5.org/ — 2007-05-29 — at its 10th anniversary and together with a new roadmap towards version 5.0, the project environment of the popular Unix software packaging tool RPM Package Manager (RPM) was relaunched under the domain rpm5.org by the newly formed RPM project team, further on lead by RPM’s primary developer Jeff Johnson.

Why Novell Must Not Crash and Burn: Glyn Moody thinks that Novell crashing and burning would be very bad for the Open Source Community. Well Glyn, some of us think that it wouldn’t be so bad.

Sabayon’s Fabio Erculiani: “Users first and choice makes the tasty dessert among the distro’s”: Our Senior European Editor Hans Kwint interviews Fabio Erculiani of Sabayon Linux which is currently No.7 on Distrowatch.

You discover something new everyday: An LXer reader “tracyanne” writes about the joy of active desktops in KDE.

Novell, Heal Thy Self: Ken Starks writes: “They are purchasing software so that the software they’ve already bought will work. You have the answer to that problem right in the palm of your hand. Why haven’t you mortgaged the farm to advertise the obvious answer to their problem?”

The dark art of removing the Flash plugin from Firefox in Ubuntu Linux: Steven Rosenberg finds out the it is easy to get the plugin for Flash in Firefox but that getting rid of it is an entirely different story.

Windows – still the only way to go?: In our FUD article of the week the author decides that checking his facts was just a little too much trouble.

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