Archive for February, 2008

LXer Article

In this week’s LXer Roundup we have five must-have apps for a new Linux install, 11 Versions Of WINE Benchmarked, how to build your own RAID storage server, a Asus Eee PC product diary, the 2007 LinuxQuestions.org members choice winners, Linux anti-virus programs explained, Microsoft gives away its developer software and in our FUD section we have part 5 of Linux FUD patterns and a Linux advocate who gets his facts wrong, and runs with it.

Open source and the future of vendor-free IT: In reading through IDC’s excellent report, “2007 Industry Adoption of Open Source Software, Part 2: Project Adoption,” analyst Matt Lawton stumbles across an intriguing observation in open-source software adoption. He apparently believes it is a weakness of the current open-source landscape, but I believe it is a strength.

Five must-have apps for a new Linux install: I tend to hammer my Ubuntu laptop. Running a website like Tectonic means I am constantly installing new applications to try them out. Many of which I later have to remove or lie forgotten on the hard disk until I start to wonder where the +40GB of free hard disk space went to. And when that happens I tend to back up the essentials – email, documents and website backups – format my hard disk and install a clean version of Ubuntu. Doing this every few months means that a few times a year I get to really consider what the most important applications on my desktop are.

RIAA, MPAA: Be Careful what you Wish For: Schemes are being hatched to make it harder and harder to download copyrighted material across the internet. Seems they will be just as successful as the method to stop people recording CDs to tape in the “old days.” And just as ludicrous.

11 Versions Of WINE Benchmarked: Last December we had published benchmarks of seven versions of WINE, which covered up through the WINE 0.9.50 release. We had used two versions of Futuremark’s 3DMark suite for testing, and with that we had found the performance to be stable in some cases while in later WINE releases we had found some performance losses. With the WINE project on a consistent two-week release cycle, we are looking at the WINE 3D performance and this time going back with the past eleven releases.

Tech: Vista the best thing to happen to the PC industry.: Let’s be absolutely clear about this: it’s difficult to recall a Microsoft product that has been so universally disliked – but MS is determined that you – yes, you – will use it whether you like it or not. But – perversely – we opine that Vista is the best thing to happen to the PC industry. Even Microsoft’s usually powerful PR machine – which answers criticisms in the media and on blogs with answers on its own pages or in articles – has not been able to overcome the wave of distaste for its Vista operating system. If you doubt this, just look at blogs relating to laptops – they are over-run with users asking how to uninstall Vista and go back to XP. And corporate users are also simply reformatting the disks in new machines and putting XP on before deploying the machines.

Microsoft Giving Away Developer Software: Microsoft Corp. is giving students free access to its most sophisticated tools for writing software and making media-rich Web sites, a move that intensifies its competition with Adobe Systems Inc. and could challenge open source software’s popularity.

Microsoft’s DreamSpark – What a Giveaway: Yesterday, Microsoft announced DreamSpark – an ironic name, since it actually lays bare Microsoft’s worst nightmare: that more and more of tomorrow’s programmers are growing up using free software for their studies, which means that as they move out into the world, there will be less and less demand for Microsoft’s tools, and even fewer programs written for its platforms. Its answer? This:..

Review: How the Linux Community Ranks Distributions: At first, ranking GNU/Linux distributions seems alien to the spirit of free software. After all, free software is all about choice. What should matter is that your distro suits you, not how others judge it. Yet, in practice, community members judge distributions all the time. They don’t use a single metric, and at times a distro’s appeal is as simple as the fact that it is new or has released a new version. Yet, whenever community members choose a distribution to download or to build their own distribution upon, or to borrow a tool from, they are making a verdict on it.

Build Your Own RAID Storage Server with Linux: If you’ve been thinking of building yourself a dedicated storage server, this is a good time to do it. Prices are so low now that even a small home network can have a dedicated storage and backup server for not much money. SATA hard drives have large capacities and high speeds for low prices, and you don’t need the latest greatest quad-core processor or trainloads of RAM. The ultimate in flexibility and reliability combines Linux software RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) and LVM (Linux Volume Manager).

Google funds Wine to improve Photoshop use: In an email to the Wine mailing list late last week, Google software engineer Dan Kegel described how Google has been contracting the CodeWeavers Wine team to improve support for PhotoshopCS on Linux and how Google employees are using their free time to fix Wine bugs.

Asus Eee PC Product Diary: Asus struck technological gold with the Eee PC, a two-pound mini-dynamo that defied industry convention by packing a fully functional Linux-powered PC into a machine whose price shames even budget systems, but how does it stack up against more featured packed computers? LAPTOP assigned staff writer and office guinea pig Jeffrey Wilson to the task of answering this question by asking him to explore the ins and outs of this small wonder. Join him on his Eee PC adventure.

OpenID: The Ultimate Sign On: Remembering all login IDs and passwords for all the Internet forums and communities that you are part of, is indeed an onerous task. We have all tried to get around this problem by jotting down passwords on pieces of paper or sticking notes to our terminal – all potentially dangerous practices that defeat the very purpose of keeping a digital identity secure. This article shows a solution called OpenID, which is free, non-proprietary, open standards based, extensible, community-driven framework with Open Source libraries and helpful tutorials to get you on board.

2007 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners: The polls are closed and the results are in for the 2007 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards. Among the winners are Ubuntu, Firefox, MySQL, KDE, Compiz, Nagios and OpenOffice.org. The Members Choice Awards allow members of the Linux community to choose their favorite products in a variety of categories including Server Distribution of the Year, Desktop Distribution of the Year, Office Suite of the Year and Web Browser of the Year. The total number of categories this year was 27.

Mark Shuttleworth’s Stance on Mono Inside Ubuntu: Mark Shuttleworth, whom we have great respect for after maintaining his stern stance against intimidation tactics, has responded to our concerns regarding the existence of Mono in Ubuntu. His message to us was CC’d to the Technical Board and the leader of Fedora. It would be worth bringing it to our readers’ attention because some were concerned (if not outraged) about the subject.

Linux Anti-Virus Programs Explained: There has been a lot of debate recently over whether or not it’s a good idea to run an anti-virus program if you’re using Linux. I hope to clear up a common misunderstanding: An anti-virus program running on Linux is designed to detect Windows viruses, so that they aren’t spread, unknowingly, by the Linux user. This article explains when you should run a Linux anti-virus, and what exactly they do.

Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds): With a little bit of digging, I’ll show you how those file formats got so unbelievably complicated, why it doesn’t reflect bad programming on Microsoft’s part, and what you can do to work around it.

Microsoft Makes Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability: Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for developers, partners, customers and competitors. Specifically, Microsoft is implementing four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions across its high-volume business products: (1) ensuring open connections; (2) promoting data portability; (3) enhancing support for industry standards; and (4) fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.

From Windows to Linux – and back again: Seven years ago, Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School, which is situated in a suburb of Melbourne, took a step that made it stand out from other educational institutions. The school decided to adopt Linux on the desktop on a fairly large scale, with about 350 workstations being installed with the free operating system. The Linux era ended in December 2007. Today all the Linux machines are back to running Windows.

Poor Microsoft Gives Poor Software to Youngsters, Hopeless: Think about tomorrow’s generation of Linux-based mobile devices and Microsoft ambitions of turning the Net into .NET, most notably using Silverlight. Where does that position Linux? What about Moonlight? And why is a Microsoft ISV trying to shove the patent-encumbered Mono into Linux phones?

Top 10 Linux FUD Patterns, Part 5: Pattern #5: Linux is not secure. There are some out there who would like for you to believe that Linux is unsafe. What better way to instill fear than to form doubt in your mind about a system’s abilities to protect your data?


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LXer Article

In this week’s Roundup we have more Microsoft-Yahoo fallout, Booting Linux in under 40 seconds and Linux-Unix cheat sheets to help you remember all those commands that make you look smart in front of your friends. AMD launches a open GPU website, SCO group returns from the dead after receiving some emergency funding, a couple of articles about Linux on Mac hardware, someone asks if they should put Windows XP on their ASUS Eee PC and for a belated Valentine’s day gift we have Linux, the language of love.

Booting Linux in Less Than 40 Seconds: Have you ever dreamt about booting Linux in less than one minute? Now this dream can come true: in less than 40 seconds after pressing the power button, you will have a perfect fully-functional operating system, exactly as you left the last session. Even better than you thought, right? Now you could say: “Crazy boy – I don’t believe you!” Well then, check it out for yourself.

Yahoo board to spurn $44B Microsoft bid: Yahoo Inc.’s board will reject Microsoft Corp.’s $44.6 billion takeover bid after concluding the unsolicited offer undervalues the slumping Internet pioneer, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday. The decision could provoke a showdown between two of the world’s most prominent technology companies with Internet search leader Google Inc. looming in the background. Leery of Microsoft expanding its turf on the Internet, Google already has offered to help Yahoo avert a takeover and urged antitrust regulators to take a hard look at the proposed deal.

Microsoft rejects Yahoo! rejection: Steve Ballmer still wants to swallow Jerry Yang. Just a few hours after Yahoo! rejected Microsoft’s $44.6bn purchase offer, the Redmond-based software giant has responded, reiterating that it “reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.”

TrueCrypt 5: Encrypt your drive, now in GUI: A few days ago TrueCrypt 5.0 has been released, a great tool for encrypting your hard drives. It can be used to encrypt existing partitions or create a virtual one located in a single file. In this article we cover the changes in version 5.0 and provide you some useful benchmarks.

Ubuntu picks KVM over Xen for virtualization: Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server both use the Xen virtualization software, a “hypervisor” layer that lets multiple operating systems run on the same computer. In contrast, the KVM software runs on top of a version of Linux, the “host” operating system that provides a foundation for other “guest” operating systems to run in a virtual mode.

Linux Fans Embrace Apple MacBooks: Whether you attended this past weekend’s Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) or another recent open source event, one trend is clear: Linux advocates certainly love their Apple MacBooks. Here’s the proof.

Why Linux Geeks Buy Macs: People often note the surprising number of Macs at Linux events. The question is why? The short answer is Macs are pretty. So now the question is why can’t Dell or System76 rival Apple’s design.

Should I put Windows XP on my ASUS Eee PC?: The ASUS Eee PC comes pre-loaded with Xandros Linux, an operating system far less susceptible to viruses, spyware, malware and the other nasties that are almost of biblical proportions in the Windows world. So, even though ASUS makes a Windows XP driver disc to allow the easy installation of XP, and is due to start selling the Eee with XP pre-loaded, is XP worth the worry?

Trend Micro patent claim provokes FOSS community, leads to boycott: Trend Micro might insist that its patent case against Barracuda Networks isn’t about free software — but try telling that to the free and open source software (FOSS) community. Since Barracuda Networks went public about the case last month, it has heard from “a tremendous number of individuals” according to Dean Drako, Barracuda’s president and CEO. Even more significantly, announcement of the case has led to a boycott against Trend Micro.

Linux-Unix cheat sheets – The ultimate collection: The ultimate collection of cheat sheets for linux users. Enough to fill up your whole wall with commands yielded by the geek gods! I use these to make myself look smart. 🙂

What is the 2038 bug? Is my system affected? How do I fix this issue?: Saturday, January 19th 2008, will mark the 30 year countdown to the Y2K38 wraparound of regular 32-bit UNIX time. UNIX internal time is stored in a data structure using a long int, containing the number of seconds since 1970. On a 32-bit machine this value is sufficient to store time up to the 18th of January 2038. After this date 32-bit clocks will overflow and return false values.

Ubuntu Linux- Linux is pure stability: You knew Ubuntu was stable. You also knew it could handle quite a bit of work. However, the bloggers at the NetNewser have tested Ubuntu beyond almost all measures, on a relatively common PC. Go here for a glimpse of how productivity, stability, and eye candy all come together in an insane experience.

Brian Jones can’t tell why MS customers have to waste billions of dollars on OOXML: A while ago, I wrote a comment on Brian Jones’ OOXML blog, asking ‘Why doesn’t Microsoft try to save its clients money, instead of making sure their clients waste more money like which is the result of trying to get OOXML standardized at ISO?” I also used the form on his page to ask him to comment on my entry about two weeks ago, but till today, no reaction. Probably the people I’d like an answer from don’t read LXer, but I thought I might try posting it anyway. The ‘Full story’ link links to my original comment of Dec 14th 2007. Sad to see there’s no answer.

Fluxbuntu: User-friendly Featherweight Linux?: Fluxbuntu’s aim is to be a “lightweight, productive, agile, and efficient” operating system; this review takes a look at Fluxbuntu and whether it lives up to the challenge of creating a user-friendly experience on a tight resources budget. The review discusses included applications, the user interface and ease-of-use, as well as some limitations.

AMD Launches Open GPU Website: AMD has today launched their new open GPU documentation website for register-level documents covering their ATI Radeon products. In addition, they are now providing an email address for any open-source developers who may have questions concerning these documents.

Eight Distros a Week: Some of us use Linux, some of us tell others about Linux, and a smaller percentage of people Advocate Linux. Let me introduce you to a true Open Source Advocate. Freedomeware indeed. Let the bell toll, let the news be heard. Now if we can all do about 1/10th of what this guy does, we can say we’ve truly helped spread the word. Let’s take a look at some of the work this Author has done.

Linux, the language of love: It’s St Valentine’s Day in much of the western world (and, it seems, the World of Warcraft too). Did you know Linux is unique among operating systems due to its inherent romanticism? Here’s how Linux helps sling forth Cupid’s arrows on this day. Spice up your love life with these seven sure-fire tips.

Review: Krazy Kubuntu Annoyances: I’m running Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) on one of my main workstations. As with its sibling Ubuntu, it’s an endlessly-entertaining blend of really nice stuff and really irritating stuff. The nice stuff is nearly-current releases of fast-moving applications like KDE, Digikam, Krita, KWord, and other apps that I use a lot, easy-on-the-eyes graphics, a good set of default applications, and nicely-organized menus. The irritating stuff is they still don’t pay enough attention to delivering reliable basic functionality in core functions like networking and printing. Both often require manual tweakage to get them to work correctly, and even then you may be foiled by a Helpful Daemon.

Firefox 3.0 beta 3 released with 1300 changes!: Mozilla has released beta 3 of Firefox 3.0, with around 1300 ‘individual changes’ from beta 2, with fixes for stability, performance, memory usage, platform enhancements and user interface improvements. Firefox 3.0 beta 3 is here, with plenty of improvements set to send Firefox’s percentage of market share soaring ever higher once the final version is released to the public.

Linux boxes make ideal botnet controllers: The cold, harsh truth is that Linux systems are pretty much ideal for being compromised for use as a botnet controller, ironically more often than not being in control of a virtual army of infected Windows PCs.

SCO Group returns from the dead to haunt Linux: SCO Group, which for years has claimed that Linux infringes on its Unix intellectual property, has received new funding and seems set to continue its battle against the open source operating system. Stephen Norris & Co. Capital Partners said Thursday it and unnamed Middle Eastern partners will fund The SCO Group with up to US$100 million to take over the financially beleaguered Unix company, move it out of bankruptcy protection, complete its controversial and unsuccessful Linux litigation, and take it private.

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Here is a roundup of articles from the 2008 SCALE 6x conference in Los Angeles.

Five Trends at Southern California Linux Expo: The VAR Guy is skipping Disneyland this weekend and keeping a close eye on the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), which runs February 8-10 at the Westin Los Angeles. Here are five trends and themes The VAR Guy will be tracking at the event.

Linux Fans Embrace Apple MacBooks: Whether you attended this past weekend’s Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) or another recent open source event, one trend is clear: Linux advocates certainly love their Apple MacBooks. Here’s the proof.

SCALE 6x trip report: The sixth annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) kicked off in Los Angeles on Friday with four specialized conference tracks. General talks and the expo floor both began Saturday, but attendees who braved the chilly 70-degree California weather a day early were rewarded with lessons in open source far removed from the typical desktop Linux fare.

SCALE 6x Pictures: Here are some pictures I took while attending SCALE 6x this year in Los Angeles.

Our own Steven Rosenberg was all over place at this years SCALE 6x. Here is what he found at this year’s event..

What is SCALE 6X? Glad you asked: Every once in awhile, I write for a, shall we say, less specialized audience. Here’s a story about this weekend’s Southern California Linux Expo aimed at a more general audience. If all goes as planned, this will run in Saturday’s print edition of the Los Angeles Daily News.

SCALE 6x — This place is packed: I got to SCALE 6x today just in time to hear Ubuntu’s Jono Bacon deliver the keynote speech to a standing-room-only audience in the theater at the Los Angeles Airport Westin hotel. The room was packed, with people bunched up in the back and along the sides. His talk focused on the importance and purpose of community in the entire open-source world, not just the Ubuntu project. The point was that the community — from developers all the way down to users — will make some year (maybe not this year) “the year of the Linux desktop.”

SCALE 6x — the ‘e-mail room’: I’m filing this from the SCALE 6x “E-Mail Room” in the Los Angeles Westin. They’ve got a little thin-client network going, with little client boxes from Solar Systems PC running Fluxbox. And since the browser is Iceweasel, I figure it’s Debian based.

SCALE 6x: BSD all over it: The “L” in SCALE may stand for Linux, but each of the three major BSD projects has a table at the Southern California Linux Expo. While the FreeBSD booth was giving away PC-BSD CDs (they still have about 500 left, so have at it, people), the OpenBSD booth was selling Version 4.2 CD sets for $45, and the NetBSD people were selling T-shirts for $15. I spent a lot of time talking to Kevin Lahey, a developer for NetBSD who is also a programmer for the Information Sciences Institute under the auspices of the University of Southern California.

Damn Small Linux at SCALE 6x: I meet Robert Shingledecker: The highlight of SCALE 6x for me so far has been meeting Robert Shingledecker, whose Damn Small Linux is one of the best distributions out there for hardware that’s seen better days. I won’t go into all we talked about, but in the way of news, Robert told me that Damn Small Linux will soo go beyond the 2.4 Linux kernel and put out a release based on 2.6 at some point in the near future.

SCALE 6x: Good reasons to buy from ZaReason: Chief technology officer Earl Malmrose of the Berkeley, Calif.-based ZaReason and I didn’t just talk about the Everex Cloudbook. Also on display were a $299 desktop machine and a few laptops (beginning at $899), all running Ubuntu 7.10, which ZaReason preinstalls and configures for its customers.

Heard at SCALE 6x: The Everex Cloudbook will ship with a much improved version of gOS: I’ve been as critical of gOS as anybody, maybe even more so. The Ubuntu-derived OS that first ran the $199 Everex desktop offering that sold through Wal-Mart and a few others was a distribution that was far from ready for prime time, as they say.

Heard at SCALE 6x: Damn Small Linux moving to Firefox 2: Damn Small Linux won’t add just any application to its 50 MB distribution. But when there’s a big hue and cry, things that users really need tend to get added. I thanked Robert Shingledecker for adding my favorite lightweight image editor, MtPaint, to DSL, and I’m anxiously awaiting another improvement: Firefox in DSL will move from the current version 1 to the GTK 1 version of Firefox 2. That’s a big deal because a lot of Web sites require at least Firefox 1.5 for full functionality.

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The first pictures are various shots of the crowd at this year’s SCALE 6x conference in Los Angeles.








HP was giving away t-shirts.


Google was giving away all kinds of cool swag and doing a fair amount of recruiting as well.


I talked with Stu Gott of the Bongo Project.


There was a mock up of a 747 cockpit running a flight simulation based on Linux.





Webgui.org had OLPC laptops for everyone to see and test drive.







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This weeks Roundup has several sections this week for your reading pleasure, Linus gets quoted a lot, Microsoft cuts off access to old formats, Is MS Office adware?, Google chimes in on the Microsoft- Yahoo merger plus more. KDE 4.0.1 hits the streets, How to boot Linux in less than 40 seconds and in our FUD section a voice in the dark proclaims there is no year of the Linux desktop. Look for a SCALE roundup tomorrow where I will have pictures and a collection of SCALE related articles.

Can KDE Save a Dying Windows Platform?: As a longtime KDE user forced to use Windows, is the recent announcement and availability of a port of KDE for Windows a dream come true? “KDE 4.0.0 was released and there again was much joy. More importantly an actual honest to goodness Windows port is released.” Blogger MrCopilot gives us a hands on review with 50+ screenshots of KDE in action on that other operating system and tries to answer that question. KDE on Windows is not yet ready for the masses but hopes to be declared stable for KDE 4.1.

Too many M icrosoft related articles to mention..

Yahoo’s Openness Asset: What if Yahoo’s main value isn’t its search engine or its advertising business, but the openness that makes it more Net-native and hacker-friendly than Microsoft? Does Microsoft understand the role this same openness is in large part to credit for Google’s success as well?

Google Offers to Help Yahoo: Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt called Yahoo Inc. CEO Jerry Yang to offer his company’s help in any effort to thwart Microsoft Corp.’s unsolicited $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo, say people familiar with the matter.

Hitting Microsoft Where It Hurts: This whole cloud-computer effort makes sense for Google to pursue, if it hasn’t already grown its own cloud OS in secret. Google already has server-based versions of Google Docs, which duplicate the functions of Microsoft’s Office software. However, the Google Apps aren’t always as full-featured or heavy-duty as Microsoft’s software.

Microsoft Cuts Off Access To Old Documents and why open formats matter!: Tucked in with the many security updates (and the restoration of one’s ability to paste text from a web page into a Word document!), a very interesting modification to the Office 2003 software waits quietly for installation with Service Pack 3. Unbeknownst to the user installing this “Pack 3,” their Office software is about to be imbued with a runaway power: the cutoff of access to your old documents. The vendor-neutral quality makes ODF a superior format for document retention.

Yahoo board to spurn $44B Microsoft bid: Yahoo Inc.’s board will reject Microsoft Corp.’s $44.6 billion takeover bid after concluding the unsolicited offer undervalues the slumping Internet pioneer, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday. The decision could provoke a showdown between two of the world’s most prominent technology companies with Internet search leader Google Inc. looming in the background. Leery of Microsoft expanding its turf on the Internet, Google already has offered to help Yahoo avert a takeover and urged antitrust regulators to take a hard look at the proposed deal.

Is Microsoft Office Adware?: Microsoft Office links to third-party commercial add-ons, includes up-spelling promos, requires cookies for certain functions, and collects technical information. While this is a normal day on the web, should the commercial office suite be judged to a different standard and possibly be considered adware?

KDE 4.0.1 is There For You: While the world is still recovering from the work on KDE 4.0.0, we are ready to announce the release of KDE 4.0.1, the first bug fix update of the KDE 4.0 desktop. KDE 4.0.1 contains numerous bugfixes such as stability improvements, performance improvements and, as in every point release, updated translations for most components. Lots of work has been put into shared components making the life of most applications easier. Particularly striking is also the high number of bugfixes in KHTML.

VLC – The Universial Media Player: VLC (VideoLan) is a cross-platform universial media player. It supports a variety of different inputs, including DVD, VCD, MPEG, AVI, WMV, MP4, and MOV. It has full subtitle support, as well as built-in video filters. There are skins for VLC available at the developer website.

A New User Guide to Linux Communities: Are you a new Linux user? Fantastic! Welcome to the world of freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of expression, freedom from vendor lockin. You’ve made an excellent choice. Now that you’ve chosen, installed, and are using Linux there are a few things you should keep in mind as you learn the ropes of your new system.

Linus Torvalds gets his own section this week, three articles all with sensational titles. I think that his continued pragmatism is sensational, in it’s own way.

Torvalds: Microsoft is bluffing on patents: Microsoft’s aggressive defense of its intellectual property, which includes claims that Linux violates a number of its patents, is nothing more than “a marketing thing,” according to Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel.

Torvalds Blasts Patent Trolls, Microsoft, and Linux Market Share?: Linus Torvalds recently held a Q&A, in which he attacked Microsoft, Patent Trolls, Sun Microsystems, Virtualization, and the Linux Market Share! Is this good for Linux that one of its top representatives is pessimistic about the rise of Linux in the desktop?

Torvalds pans Apple with ‘utter crap’ putdown: Apple’s much-touted new operating system, OS X Leopard, is in some ways worse than Windows Vista, says the founder of the Linux open source project, Linus Torvalds.

Moving my mother over to Linux: To save money, I cobbled together a computer for my mother out of cast-offs left over from my own upgrades. She doesn’t need a cutting-edge computer because she’s not a power user, but she does need a reliable machine to run a few basic applications and to access the Internet. I moved my mother from Windows to Ubuntu Linux, and the experience was a surprisingly smooth one.

In Defense and Praise of Debian: Every now and then, someone suggests that Debian GNU/Linux should be more commercial. To further this goal, some create derivative distros like Linspire, Ubuntu, or Xandros, or organizations like the stillborn DCC Alliance.

Hotmail doesn’t work with Firefox 2.0: Microsoft answers to GNU/Linux users “Switch to Outlook Express”: I contacted the Hotmail support staff (and for the first time since 1997, I actually got an answer) about the matter. Me: Why, exactly, is “Full” disabled if one masks “Win” as the OS in the User Agent string, considering that Firefox doesn’t use any Windows subsystem other than the TCP/IP stack and GDI? On Windows XP, hiding the fact that I’m using Windows in the UA string disables “Full”, while masquerading as Firefox for Windows under Linux X86-64 (and a 64-bit build of Firefox) “Full” works very well.

The Distro Journey Has Begun: OpenSuSE 10.3: I have started a journey of sorts as I have stated not too long ago. I decided to try multiple distributions in order to see what features were good, what ones were not, and if an all star distribution were to be made, which features would, in my view, make the cut. The first part of what is going to sound disturbing to a few at first, because of the issue of “selling out.” However, allow me to explain.

Backing up in Linux is Finally Made Simple with TimeVault: File backups are a key element for every user and on every computer. Whether it be an office setting or a home desktop machine, backups are essential – your hard drive will fail at some point; you will need a backup, and you’ll be kicking yourself if you learn this lesson the hard way. Linux users have usually resorted to CRON and Rsync to manage their backups – until now. TimeVault finally offers a complete, easy-to-use, intuitive backup system for Linux.

Booting Linux in Less Than 40 Seconds: Have you ever dreamt about booting Linux in less than one minute? Now this dream can come true: in less than 40 seconds after pressing the power button, you will have a perfect fully-functional operating system, exactly as you left the last session. Even better than you thought, right? Now you could say: “Crazy boy – I don’t believe you!” Well then, check it out for yourself.

In our FUD section this week we have a voice in the dark and part 4of how to recognize Linux FUD patterns.

There is no Year of the Linux Desktop: Newsflash people. There is no “Year of the Linux Desktop”. There will never be one. Before you start looking for sharp rocks to throw at me, let me start by saying I am a Linux user. I worked with all major distributions, roamed in Slackware land for about two years, tried to get accustomed to Red Hat’s RPM hell in a time when Linux was a wasteland and there were only a bunch of people that were using it.

Top 10 Linux FUD Patterns, Part 4: In this installment of my series on the Top 10 Linux FUD patterns, I address two patterns that have more to do with software packages that run on the Linux platform than with the Linux OS itself. As I stated in a previous post, every believable piece of FUD has some element of truth behind it, and these two are no exception. Linux FUD Pattern #3: With Linux, you cannot access old files or share new files with others. Linux FUD Pattern #4: There are no good software titles for Linux.

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In the ramp up to SCALE next weekend we have a SCALE announcement, a concise history of Linux, Nokia acquires Trolltech. We have articles on VLAN’s and Rootkit detectors on Linux, How to apply Unix philosophy to personal productivity, Eight interesting improvements in GNOME 2.22, Mythbusters- Vista gets BUSTED and the big news of the week, if not the month Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 Billion dollars.

SCALE Weighs In!: The SCALE staff continue to put the final touches on SCALE 6x If you want to meet me (Scott) I will be on the convention floor all day Saturday and Sunday.

History of Linux: In The Beginning: It was 1991, and the ruthless agonies of the cold war were gradually coming to an end. There was an air of peace and tranquility that prevailed in the horizon. In the field of computing, a great future seemed to be in the offing, as powerful hardware pushed the limits of the computers beyond what anyone expected. But still, something was missing. And it was the none other than the Operating Systems, where a great void seemed to have appeared.

Nokia to acquire KDE originator Trolltech: Trolltech, the originator of Qt, which forms the basis of the Linux KDE desktop environment, is being acquired by Nokia, the world’s number-one mobile phone vendor. Nokia expects its acquisition of Trolltech to accelerate its cross-platform software strategy for mobile devices and desktop applications, and to enhance its Internet services business.

How Linux Users Should React in a Windows World: Many Linux users find themselves working in Windows-based environments. More often that not, this is not something that can be avoided, and to be honest, I cannot actually say for certain that it should be.

Linux Detecting Rootkits: A rootkit is a program designed to take fundamental control of a computer system, without authorization by the system’s owners and legitimate managers. Most rootkits use the power of the kernel to hide themselves, they are only visible from within the kernel. How do I detect rootkits under CentOS or Debian Linux server?

Tiny PC, relatively tiny price (but the exchange rate’s killing us): I’m always on the lookout for ultra-small PCs that are also a) fanless and b) not super-expensive. I’ve found a good candidate, via this link on Linux Devices, called the PicoPC, from Devon, England’s Sharp and Tappin Technology. They use the pico-ITX boards from VIA, and they look great, are really small … and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Well, maybe an arm, but you can keep (at least half of) your leg.

VLANs on Linux: One thing that did not make it into the Linux Networking Cookbook was a chapter on setting up VLANs (Virtual LANs). VLANs are logical subnetting, rather than being constrained by your physical Ethernet switches. Now that “smart” switches have gotten so inexpensive, VLANs are nice options even for small networks.

Seven Stunning Facts About Microsoft’s Profits: The VAR Guy loves Red Hat, open source and software as a service. But if you think open source and SaaS will quickly kill Microsoft, guess again. It takes Microsoft only 10 hours — yes, 10 hours — to equal Red Hat’s entire quarterly profit of $20 million. Skeptical? Check out this stunning look at Microsoft’s quarterly profits, from The VAR Guy.

Applying Unix Philosophy to Personal Productivity: Reprogramming your personal workflow with a productivity system is a lot like programming computer software: given a stream of incoming information and tasks, you set up holding spaces and logical rules for turning it all into action. Like software that automates activities, good productivity systems take the thinking out of what to do with incoming data, and make it a no-brainer to turn those bits into an accomplishment.

The Torvalds-Simpsons Prize: The Torvalds-Simpsons Prize is an experiment to see if the Open-Source community can influence mainstream media to give our hero, the one and only Linus Torvalds, a cameo appearance on a regular episode of The Simpsons.

Mythbusters- Vista is BUSTED: …Why not start with a computer loaded with basic stuff that works 100 percent of the time? Then, give us the option of adding the bells and whistles. There’s another solution available to consumers: Switch to a Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu. Since most Linux OSs are free, there’s no business reason to bloat up the system with feature frills…

Eight Interesting Improvements In GNOME 2.22: Back in November we started sharing some of the exciting features planned for the GNOME 2.22 and 2.24 releases, and now that the first GNOME 2.22.0 Beta release is planned for later this week, we have taken another look at the packages set for inclusion and the changes that have actually been made. While nothing groundbreaking will be introduced in GNOME 2.22, this desktop environment does have some moderate changes worth noting. In this article are eight interesting packages that either have noticeable changes since GNOME 2.20 or are new to GNOME.
Linux ext3 Filesystem” Optimize Directories / File Access Time: How do I improve my file server performance. I’ve many large files in directories and how do I speed up access time? The -D option causes e2fsck to try to optimize all directories, either by reindexing them if the filesystem supports directory indexing, or by sorting and compressing directories for smaller directories.

Microsoft Offers $44.6B for Yahoo: Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.’s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets. The Justice Department says it is interested in reviewing antitrust issues associated with it.

Linux has better Windows compatibility than Vista: I have been using Vista for well over a year now (since Beta 1). Of course Vista is slow, its bloated (over 10x the size of XP), aero kills system performance (even though this should be done on the video card), networking is pathetically slow, etc etc. We all know Vista sucks.

A Debian victory for the $15 Laptop: The fact that Debian Etch — a modern, up-to-date Linux distribution — can run so well in 233 MHz of CPU and 64 MB of RAM is something truly to behold.

We have two articles in our FUD section this week for you to peruse.

What’s all the FUD about?: A great editorial article discussing the eruption of Linux-related FUD brought on by huge corporations that fear the little penguin that could.

Microsoft Runs Linux Smear Campaign: Microsoft is going out of their way to buy up keyword searches on Google. They’ve bought up the keyword “Linux” so that an erroneous website claiming that Windows Server 2008 is superior to Linux Servers pops up first. The site doesn’t go on to backup this claim with any real evidence; in fact, it mostly argues that Windows Server 2008 is better than previous Windows Servers.

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